Unrelated car investigation alerts police to large gathering at Jefferson Park business, as inspectors shut down music event
by BRIAN NADIG
An investigation into a reported stolen vehicle late Saturday night, July 10, in the 4500 block of North Milwaukee Avenue alerted police to a large gathering at a nearby art gallery that the city’s Business Compliance Task Force later inspected and shut down.
Police officers who were in the area as part of the unrelated vehicle investigation reportedly contacted the task force, which arrived at Alchemy Chicago, 4503 N. Milwaukee Ave., as a music-related event was being held.
“This establishment was found to be operating an illegal event space, with approximately 125 attendees and liquor sales without the required licenses. Business Affairs and Consumer Protection issued cease and desist orders (on July 11) for operating without the required licenses, along with a citation for a violation of the clean indoor air act for indoor smoking of cannabis.
“Additionally, the Department of Buildings issued a closure order for dangerous and hazardous conditions,” the business affairs department said in a statement.
A buildings department sticker posted on the front door states that the storefront and basement of the two-story building are “off limits” and should remain unoccupied until further notice.
The gallery, which opened about two years ago, hosts a variety of activities, including dance classes and photo shoots. It has a general business license, and efforts are being made to obtain an event venue license, according to a gallery representative.
In the vehicle theft investigation, a 23-year-old man was taken into custody, and a semi-automatic pistol and an extended magazine with live ammunition were found inside the 2014 Grand Cherokee Jeep, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.
Due to recent vehicle thefts, officers were running random license plates in the area, and the vehicle showed as being reported stolen, police said. The man was questioned after he returned to the parked vehicle, police said.
The man told officers he had purchased the vehicle without a title and paid $15,000, police said. The man also told officers that he had the gun for protection because thieves are targeting the type of vehicle he was driving, police said.