Car reportedly drives through Dunham Park
by BRIAN NADIG
A suspected gang member who reportedly drove a stolen car on Thanksgiving through Dunham Park, 4638 N. Melvina Ave., was discussed at the Dec. 15 meeting of the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee.
Officers pulled the car over at about 9:35 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, in the 5100 block of North Melvina Avenue after receiving a report that a vehicle was being driven recklessly through the park, according to police. A passenger reportedly was hanging out a window of the car while it was in the park, police said.
The driver told police that he was a gang member and that he got the car from a friend to buy marijuana but that he was aware that the vehicle had been stolen, police said. The suspect was identified by police as Shawn Alexander, age 19, of the 3700 block of North Mozart Street.
It also was reported that two 16-year-olds and two 17-year-olds were arrested at about 12:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, after a report of suspicious people entering parked vehicles in the 6300 block of North Natoma Avenue. Officers heard an alarm from one of the cars and that they saw the suspects running south on Natoma, police said.
One of the suspects was charged with three counts of burglary and theft after officers recovered a global positioning system, a wallet and a bag of change which he allegedly had taken from parked cars. Clothing that had been reported stolen from a sports store in Niles was found in the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
The other three suspects were each charged with burglary, police said.
The advisory committee meeting was the first for new 16th District commander William Looney, who replaced Roger Bay, who was named commander of Area North.
“First, like with any job, I’d like to assess what’s here,” Looney, a Northwest Side resident, said before the meeting. “I know the (district’s crime) numbers are low, but one crime is too many, and you want to try to make it even lower.”
A 29-year police veteran, Looney spent the last 2 years as the executive officer of the 19th (Town Hall) District, which includes Wrigleyville. He said that the district established “entertainment teams” to address issues related to the bars in the area, including several establishments with 4 a.m. liquor licenses, and that the district also worked with other agencies to address issues of homeless people.
Looney also has worked in several administrative posts in the Chicago Police Department’s headquarters, and he was a lieutenant for 5 years before he was promoted to captain 2 years ago.
Bay reported at the meeting that the district’s rate of serious crimes is down 3 percent this year compared to the same period last year, with 1,722 incidents reported this year. He said that the district is experiencing a 40-year low in burglaries and vehicle thefts and the second fewest robberies in 40 years.
Also at the meeting, the committee presented its Office of the Month Award to officers Chris Maksud, Wendy Weller, Greg Schoen and Kathy Nowakowski and sergeant Patrick Haran for their Oct. 9 arrest of a suspect in the reported robbery of a store in the 3900 block of North Cicero Avenue. The suspect was given a tracking device during the robbery, leading 16th and 17th (Albany Park) District officers to the suspect’s residence in the 5100 block of West Patterson Avenue.
The suspect, who was identified by police as Divonte Calhoun, age 23, was found hiding in a crawl space at his home, police said. He also is suspected in a robbery earlier the same day of a woman who was walking near Dakin Street and Leclaire Avenue, police said.