DAC meeting features update on catalytic coverter


A reduction in thefts of catalytic converters, a police check of a nightclub and the arrest of a suspected burglar were discussed at the Oct. 15 meeting of the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee.

Three catalytic converter thefts were reported in the district during the first half of October, compared to a five-day stretch in September in which 17 were stolen.

The district’s tactical units have been making more nighttime traffic stops and questioning people on the street in an effort to deter thieves, 16th District commander James O’Donnell said.

While most of the catalytic converter thefts have occurred at night, a witness reported seeing two men remove the converter from a car in the 3900 block of North Menard Avenue at about 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8. The witness provided the license plate number of the getaway vehicle, according to police.

It also was reported that officers questioned a man who was seen carrying a reciprocating saw in the 5000 block of West Addison Street at about 12:10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in an area that has experienced a high number of catalytic converter thefts. The man, who does not live in the area and who has a suspended driver’s license, was seen walking in an alley toward his car, police said.

The decrease in converter thefts also may be attributed to the recent arrests of two men in the 19th (Town Hall) District, O’Donnell said. The suspects matched the description of two men who Alderman John Arena (45th) reported seeing steal a catalytic converter last summer in the Portage Park area.

Meanwhile, O’Donnell, Alderman Timothy Cullerton (38th) and a representative of the city Department of Law recently met with the owner of Club E, 5415 W. Irving Park Road, in an effort to address security concerns. A patron recently was shot in the arm while walking about a block from the club.

The district followed up the meeting with a visit to the club on Thursday, Oct. 10, and officers found a minor inside, O’Donnell said. The club was cited for permitting entry to a liquor license establishment to a person younger than age 21 into.

The club will be expected to deal with security issues related to its parties, and additional violations could result in the city seeking to suspend its licenses, O’Donnell said. "Pushing everybody out onto the street and letting police do it is not the answer," he said.

Also at the meeting, it was reported that a man was arrested at about 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, after he allegedly tried to break into homes in the 4400 block of North Central Avenue and the 5500 block of West Sunnyside Avenue. The suspect, who was identified by police as David Kahles, age 37, of the 5600 block of West Cullom Avenue, was apprehended after a home owner flagged down a police car and reported that the man had tried to gain entry through the basement window of his home, police said.

The suspect told police that he was looking items to sell to support his heroin habit, O’Donnell said. "They do it because it’s fast money to feed their habit," O’Donnell said. "Secure your property. Lock your doors and windows."

It also was reported that officers have been enforcing no parking and tow zone restrictions at the end of the school day due to safety concerns at Gray School, 3730 N. Laramie Ave. "Not all parents are happy," O’Donnell said. "They have to get out of their car and walk a block." He added that officials at other schools have expressed similar traffic concerns.

It also was reported that a man with a gun was arrested at about 11:10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, after officers made a curfew check on two bicyclists who were seen behind the Hotel Elinor, 3216 N. Cicero Ave. The suspect, who was identified by police as Israel Sanchez, age 19, of the 1400 block of Elgin Avenue, Forest Park, allegedly had a loaded handgun in his backpack.

The committee presented its Officer of the Month Award to Manuel Hernandez and William Rickey for their Aug. 13 arrest of two gang members following a traffic stop. One of the suspects possessed a loaded handgun and the other was arrested after 110 grams of marihuana, two scales and two boxes of bags were found inside his residence.

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