Warning issued on catalytic converter thieves
by BRIAN NADIG
Warnings against confronting catalytic converter thieves, a stabbing in Edgebrook and a court-ordered cleanup of a property were discussed at the July 19 meeting of the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee.
District captain Hootan Bahmandeji said that there have been incidents in which thieves displayed a gun after homeowners confronted them after seeing a person under a parked car removing a catalytic converter.
"If you see this, call 911. Don’t confront these guys," he said.
In a July 13 incident, a man reported that he heard a loud sawing noise in front of his home at about 4:30 a.m. in the 5900 block of West Higgins Avenue, according to police. The man said that he shouted at one of the men near his car and that one of them pointed what appeared to be a handgun at him before they fled, police said.
The district had some of its tactical officers adjust their hours so that they are working between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. when many of the thefts are occurring, Bahmandeji said.
It was also reported that a 21-year-old man suffered a collapsed lung after being stabbed during an argument with another man at about 1:25 a.m. Thursday, July 5, at Edgebrook Park, 6525 N. Hiawatha Ave. The men do not live in the area, police said.
The 21-year-old man reported that he was arguing with a man near the park and that after he punched the man, the man stabbed him in the right side of his chest before he fled, according to police.
The man was transported to Luther General Hospital in serious condition, according to police.
The assailant was described as white/Hispanic, age 21 to 23, between 5-6 and 5-9 with a Mohawk hairstyle, police said.
Also at the meeting, an aide to Alderman John Arena (45th) said that a Cook County Circuit Court judge appointed a receiver to have piles of debris removed from a yard at 4738 N. Central Ave.
"The owner cleaned up the lot before the receiver could. The receiver will return every few weeks to make sure that the owner has not brought any new junk on the lot, and that the building is still secure," a city Department of Law spokesman said in a July 24 statement.
Meanwhile, the reported number of serious crimes in the district this year is 1,003 compared to 926 during the same period last year, representing an 8 percent increase.
The largest increases this year have been in burglaries, 286 this year compared to 253 in 2017, and thefts, 353 this year compared to 311 last year.
In recent weeks the district has increased traffic enforcement in alleys, where thieves will look for open doors, Bahmandeji said.
"A lot of burglars and thieves we arrest are people driving through our district," he said.
The district issued numerous citations related to "out of control" Fourth of July disturbances, Bahmandeji said.
The advisory committee presented its "Officer of the Month Award" to officers Matthew Scott and Robert Gniot for their May 31 arrest of two suspects in connection with the recovery of three guns and seven clear plastic bags with suspected cocaine during in an alley near Cicero and Belmont avenues.
The district will be posting "Purple Up The Park" banners in 20 area parks to help promote "Domestic Violence Awareness Month" in October. The district is planning to hold an awareness walk Saturday morning, Oct. 20, around Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave.