Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Too, “Big brother is watching,” or is it time to consider this?


Flock Safety says its license plate readers reduce crime. The system uses a proprietary algorithm to identify a license plate, vehicle make, type and color.

After being suspended a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Libertyville police have rebooted the process to install a license plate reader system.

Village officials recently approved an agreement with Atlanta-based Flock Safety to place cameras at five locations for a 60-day pilot period.

“It’s in the permitting process with the Illinois Department of Transportation,” said police Chief Ed Roncone, adding that it will be two to three months before the system is up and running.

The readers serve legitimate purposes, such as alerting police to the location of a car associated with a criminal investigation, Roncone said.

“It’s just another tool we’re using to locate missing people, solve crimes” and make the community safer, he said.

Libertyville will join a handful of other suburban departments, including Vernon Hills’ and Elmhurst’s, in using the fixed camera technology as a crime-fighting tool.

Illinois State Police also have begun installing license plate readers on Cook County expressways to try to solve roadway shootings. The agency plans to install about 300 cameras.

Read on here.

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Surveillance images taken at 4:10 p.m. Tuesday show a silver or gray older model Chevy or GMC SUV just before a residential burglary in the Fox Trails subdivision of Cary.

Police released surveillance photos of the vehicle used by two suspects who have committed numerous ruse burglaries in Cary, Algonquin and Barrington Hills.

The Cary Police Department responded around 4:50 p.m. Tuesday to the 700 block of Bayberry Drive in the Fox Trails subdivision for a call of a residential burglary.

Cary Deputy Police Chief Scott Naydenoff said a pair of offenders convinced the victim they were at the residence to perform tree trimming services the victim never arranged.

One of the suspects distracted the homeowner by having them walk to the backyard to discuss the tree trimming work.

While the homeowner was distracted by the first suspect, a second suspect entered the residence and stole items from the master bedroom, Naydenoff said.

The suspects are believed to be involved in similar incidents in the surrounding area, including one Tuesday evening in Barrington Hills and another on the east side of Algonquin.

Read more here.

Related: “VBHPD reports ruse burglary

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The Barrington Hills Police Department is investigating a ruse burglary that occurred this evening in the area of Helm Road and Roundstone Lane. In this incident, one offender distracted the victim with a landscaping quote while another made entry into the home to remove valuables. The offenders were described as two Hispanic males driving an older gray Chevrolet SUV with stickers on the rear window.

The Department is aware of similar activity by the same suspects and vehicle occurring on the east side of Algonquin, which was posted on Nextdoor; however, if you have additional information about these suspects or the vehicle, please contact the Department at 847-551-3006. Residents should be extremely wary of all unexpected visitors, especially those purporting to be contractors or utility workers, and are strongly encouraged to call 911 in such instances, so that an officer can assist in verifying the visitor’s legitimacy.

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As many as 1.5 million uninsured Illinois drivers will have something new to worry about starting July 1: computers, twice a year, will try to catch them.

On July 1, the Illinois Secretary of State will begin using a vendor to check the insurance status of all drivers in Illinois in an effort to reduce the number of uninsured drivers. The computer checks will be twice a year and most drivers won’t even know about them, unless the computer can’t find a driver’s insurance info.

Then a warning letter is generated stating their license plates are being suspended.

After the warning letter, uninsured drivers will be required to obtain insurance and a $100 fine will be imposed to reinstate the plates.

If the state sends the warning letter and a driver does have insurance, the driver must contact their insurance agent, provide them the reference number from the warning notice and the agent must then resolve the matter with the state.

Illinois has about 8.5 million drivers, and estimates between 1.2 million and 1.5 million don’t have the required liability insurance. The Illinois Secretary of State estimates the random checks can reduce that by several hundred thousand.

Read on here.

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Christopher Castillo

A Carpentersville man is facing an animal cruelty charge after his family’s dog was found fatally stabbed in a forest preserve near Barrington Hills.

Christopher Castillo, 23, was charged last month with one count of aggravated animal cruelty, authorities said.

Kane County Forest Preserve Police Chief Mike Gilloffo said the charge stems from a March 25 incident.

Castillo told his parents he was taking the dog for a walk around 4:30 a.m., authorities said. When he did not return by 8 a.m., they reported him missing.

Gilloffo said the family found Castillo’s car, a piece of clothing and the wounded dog in the parking lot of Helm Woods Forest Preserve. One of the family members, assuming the dog was dead, took the animal home.

Police ended up taking the dog to a veterinary hospital, but it ultimately died, Gilloffo said.

Read more here.

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Police are outside a residence in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road in Barrington Hills on March 9, 2020, where 28-year-old Chicago man Sean Patton was shot and killed days before. (Kaitlin Edquist / Pioneer Press)

As the one-year anniversary approaches for a deadly shooting at a Barrington Hills party where a Chicago man was killed and others were struck by gunfire, police say their investigation has been impeded and there have been no arrests.

According to authorities, Barrington Hills police responded to a call of shots fired in the 300 block of Old Sutton Road just after 3 a.m. March 7, 2020. The shooting took place at a party being held in a 6,000-square-foot house on the block that had been listed on the Airbnb website. Upon arriving, police found several people wounded from gunfire and discovered the body of a 28-year-old man identified as Sean Patton Jr.

Since that time, police have made no arrests in connection with the incident.

Barrington Hills police spokesman William Walsh told Pioneer Press earlier this month that the investigation has been stymied due to a lack of cooperation among potential witnesses.

“We’ve spoken to a lot of people who were there, and everyone says they didn’t see anything or they can’t remember anything,” said Walsh.

At this point, Walsh said, police have pursued apparent available leads, and have been left in the position of having to wait for a break that could lead to new avenues to investigate or an arrest.

Read more here.

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Indian Lakes Hotel, Bloomingdale

Village leaders in Bloomingdale may well be wondering what they could have or should have done to avoid the weekend mayhem that resulted in multiple shootings and one death at the Indian Lakes Hotel.

And they’re wise to examine their practices and polices — and for reacting decisively regarding what Public Safety Director Frank Giammarese described as the scene of a “drastic spike in crime” in recent years.

But they certainly cannot be faulted as having done nothing. They’ve pressed for years, by the hotel’s owners’ own description, to try to “ensure the safety and security of all guests and associates of the hotel.” And as recently as last December, they imposed fees and restrictions on short-term rental properties — including a minimum 30-day stay — following a shooting in neighboring Roselle over the summer in which one person died and six were hurt.

A short-term home rental is no hotel, of course, and the very nature of a hotel or motel complicates the actions a community can take to fend off problems from large parties. Indeed, for weddings, birthday celebrations, conventions and all manner of public events, hotels and banquet halls are important community centers.

The point is that, even so, Bloomingdale has not been blind to the potential for trouble when large gatherings occur. Nor have many other suburbs. In 2016, Lake Barrington passed an ordinance prohibiting rentals of less than three months following a shooting at a rental property in the village. Barrington Hills already had a zoning law in place outlawing parties like the one that led to a fatal shooting there last April. Naperville imposed a short-term rental ban last August, and Roselle imposed strict regulations governing short-term rentals following the fatal shooting at a short-term rental. Even Airbnb itself has announced a global ban restricting rentals to occupancy of no more than 16 people.

Continue reading the Daily Herald editorial here.

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State officials have said the rise in unemployment fraud is likely due to large corporate data breaches, such as one in 2017 involving Equifax that exposed the personal data of millions of people.”

State and federal officials are encouraging Illinoisans to stay vigilant as reports of unemployment insurance fraud swell.

From the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, fraudulent claims have been an issue as a record number of Illinois residents file for benefits and Congress provides additional jobless aid. Illinois has stopped more than 350,000 fraudulent claims since March 1, according to the state’s Department of Employment Security.

Reports of fraud have been so widespread — often inundating local police departments — that the FBI, IRS and several state agencies launched a task force to tackle the problem.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office has received more than 1,400 complaints since June from people who allege someone else filed an unemployment insurance claim in their name, spokeswoman Tori Joseph said.

Here’s what to be on the lookout for and what steps to take.

  • How do I know if I’m a victim of fraud?
  • Why did I receive a debit card?
  • What steps should I take to protect myself?
  • How do I avoid becoming a victim of fraud?
  • Am I responsible for funds paid to fraudsters?
  • What if I need to file for benefits?

Read the answers to these question in the Chicago Tribune here.

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“The Winnetka Police Department received 214 reports from residents during the past six months whose personal information was used for fraudulent unemployment claims, Winnetka Police Chief Marc Hornstein said.”

River Forest resident Joe Marrazzo phoned his local police department this week to file a report, but even before he had a chance to explain his problem, the dispatcher swiftly interjected: “Is this about a fraudulent unemployment benefits claim?”

“I was already on the lookout when this happened to me, because it had already happened to my mother and brother,” said Marrazzo, 49, a video editor who is among the more than 350,000 individuals across Illinois whose personal identities have been used for fraudulent unemployment claims in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What’s really crazy is, this is happening to everyone, so why have we not heard more about this?” Marrazzo added.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, suburban Chicago law enforcement officials say their departments have been bombarded with surging numbers of fraudulent unemployment benefit reports. At times, they are fielding dozens of nearly identical calls from frustrated residents in a single day. In some suburbs, the number of reports taken since March now stands in the hundreds.

In most cases, the target discovers the scam when their employer alerts them that a claim has been filed in their name despite still being employed. A letter then arrives from the state detailing the unemployment benefits, and often times, a debit card is included in the mailing.

The investigation into the spiraling number of fraudulent claims is being handled by the Illinois Department of Employment Security, a state agency already overwhelmed by a record number of legitimate unemployment compensation claims filed by workers who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.

If this has happened to you, read on hereTo report unemployment insurance identity theft fraud, click.

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John H. Breseman | Cook County sheriff’s office

A 50-year-old Barrington man was ordered held without bail Sunday while awaiting trial on a first-degree murder charge in the New Year’s Day slaying of his longtime girlfriend.

John H. Breseman is charged with fatally shooting Christina Czuj, 54, during a confrontation in his vehicle while on the ramp from I-90 westbound to Barrington Road in South Barrington.

The Sleepy Hollow woman was found dead in the vehicle at about 1:34 a.m. Friday at Barrington and Palatine roads in Barrington Hills, where police had been called on a report of a shooting. She had suffered gunshot wounds to the back of her head and near her collarbone, authorities said Sunday.

According to state police, a preliminary investigation showed that a man later identified as Breseman placed an emergency call early Friday admitting to shooting his passenger, Czuj. Cook County prosecutors said in court Sunday that Breseman also called his adult son and a former girlfriend after the shooting and made incriminating statements, then later told police “I killed the woman I love.”

A prosecutor said Sunday that Breseman and Czuj dated for about two years, but recent text messages and emails between the two indicated problems in their relationship.

Read more here.

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