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Police announced that were more than 50 robberies this week across the Northwest side of Chicago. They announced four suspects responsible for what they believe are four of the robberies. As they were making the announcement, a woman who was walking her dog was robbed at gunpoint by several men who rushed her from an SUV. They grabbed her purse, stole the keys to her vehicle, and took her jeep.

The robberies appear to be linked, according to Chicago police, and the MO is similar. The assailants approach the victim while they are alone, walking or in their car. They rob them at gunpoint and make off with their belongings. The suspects have been charged in four armed robberies, but police are currently attempting to link them to the other 50 or more that have occurred in the past month. 

Armed Robbery With a Firearm

The father of Highland Park shooter Robert Crimo III will face seven counts of reckless conduct after sponsoring his son’s gun license. Robert Crimo Jr. surrendered himself to police after the charges were announced. Only an individual can face a crime related to reckless conduct. The government, of course, would never file charges against itself for authorizing the license to Crimo III. However, that is exactly what happened. 

The prosecutor for the state told the press that parents are in the best position to determine whether or not their child should have a gun. However, this is equivalent to shifting the responsibility of licensing to the parents and away from the government. It would be an admission that the licensing process does not work and relies entirely on parents to determine if their children should be allowed access to weapons. In this case, the boy was 19 when his gun license was sponsored. 

Analyzing the Prosection’s Arguments

A poorly-adjusted Chicago man approached a Jewish high school and began making threats against students and a rabbi who performed security at the school. The man made several Holocaust-related provocations at students and faculty and, at one point, began goosestepping and doing a Nazi march. When police arrived at the scene, the defendant was still doing the Nazi march. He was then taken into custody.

He has since been charged with a hate crime and is being held on a $100,000 bond. He must post $10,000 before he can be released from custody. If he fails to post the $10,000, he will remain in jail until his case is decided. 

Analyzing the Defense

In a bad mood? Want to turn it around with a little cyberbullying? Think again. A Michigan woman is facing charges related to cyberbullying teenage students, including her own daughter, according to authorities. The woman is facing five counts, including, most importantly, stalking a minor. 

The woman’s own daughter and her boyfriend reported getting harassing messages to authorities which spurred forth the investigation, which lasted a year. Ultimately, the culprit turned out to be the girl’s own mother.

The mother used VPNs and other methods to hide her identity. At one point, she attempted to obscure her IP address in a manner that would lay the blame on classmates of her daughter. The woman was also working as a basketball coach at the time. Law enforcement says that the VPN exposed the defendant’s IP address for a fraction of a second before connecting. Indeed, you must connect your VPN prior to going onto the internet. If you do it after connecting, you will expose your actual IP while the VPN is unconnected or if it goes out. VPNs are not foolproof. A network interruption could expose your IP. Alternatively, not all VPNs are created equally. In this case, the woman’s IP was exposed. 

A benefits specialist for the CTA is facing federal fraud and embezzlement charges related to the withdrawal of $350,000 worth of pension benefits related to deceased employees. She has since been charged with five counts of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, but usually, the sentence is tied to the amount of money stolen and not the number of times the fraud was committed. 

According to the prosecution, the defendant made requests to disburse death benefits and pension benefits to purported beneficiaries of CTA pension plans. The funds, however, were later diverted into bank accounts controlled by the defendant. The money was then used for personal expenditures. 

Authorities say that the defendant made 43 death benefit or pension refund requests totaling an estimated $350,000. The defendant worked as a bus driver and later as a retirement plan specialist. 

Since retail theft crimes have become a major problem across the U.S., the Chicago police department has initiated a sprawling effort to reduce the overall number of retail thefts and ensure the prosecution of those who are caught. An Illinois man has since been charged with eight counts of non-probational felony theft and four counts of probational felony theft. 

Theft crimes have become a political battlefield, and today, it is common to find different jurisdictions throughout Illinois enforcing different rules pertaining to local ordinances. It was assumed that the rules were overly harsh and antiquated. A defendant could face felony charges for the theft of $150 in merchandise. Today, the threshold is much higher, but the pressure on law enforcement has increased as retail theft crimes become more commonplace and organized. Today, the only way to get a felony by stealing $150 in merchandise is if you steal gasoline from a fuel pump. 

Analyzing the New Initiative

Federal prosecutors are asking the court to impose a five-year sentence on the straw purchaser who purchased the weapon that killed Chicago police officer Ella French. The defendant has already pleaded guilty to a federal weapons charge for unlawfully purchasing the weapon and then distributing it to an unauthorized buyer. 

The recommended sentence for unlawfully purchasing a weapon is two years. However, federal prosecutors noted that the weapon was used to kill a peace officer. The stakes of the case, therefore, fall well outside the standard set of facts typical of a straw buyer prosecution. In other words, the conduct is worse than you would see in a standard straw purchaser case. The government, therefore, wants the court to impose a longer sentence than the two-year recommended sentence. The defendant could be sentenced up to the statutory maximum for the crime. 

Straw Purchasing Crimes

A Chicago man is facing criminal charges for his role in the January 6th protest-turned-riot on Capitol Hill. He is facing federal charges, including assaulting a federal law enforcement officer, destruction of government property, and civil disorder.

Thus far, over 950 have faced charges related to January 6th. Arrestees hail from all 50 states. This individual earned the online handle “RailMixer” after he used a broken piece of metal railing to ram the doors of the Capitol. 

The defendant can be seen on video swinging a metal railing or bicycle rack to bring down the doors of the Capitol. He is also seen swinging his arms at police officers. The man won some acclaim from the internet for his conduct that day, and his image was circulated along with the tag “railmixer.” Eventually, these images made their way to the FBI website, where they were requesting information on the January 6th rioters. The FBI began interviewing associates of the eventual defendant, and through an attorney, the defendant reached out to the FBI.

The Nonconsensual Pornography Act is a D.C. statute drafted in 2014 to address the problem of revenge porn. Recently, a 25-year-old Chicago man was charged under the statute after he posted several images of women without their consent. Several states have moved to criminalize revenge porn. Now, the 25-year-old Chicago man will spend the next five years in prison for unlawfully distributing sexual images of women without their consent. He was further accused of stalking witnesses who were to provide testimony against him.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful publication, two counts of stalking, and a felony count of making threats against a witness. 

Does Illinois Have a Revenge Porn Law?

A defendant has been sentenced to 20 months in federal prison after his role in stalking and harassing an R. Kelly victim and her mother. The man described himself as a manager and advisor for the beleaguered pop star and threatened the mother and her daughter after they filed a civil lawsuit against Kelly. The harassment appeared to be a means of keeping the victim silent on the matter and preventing the lawsuit from moving forward. 

According to investigators, the defendant threatened to publicly release sexual photographs of the victim if she did not withdraw her lawsuit. The defendant allegedly sent the photos to the victim’s lawyer and the victim herself, stating that he “would seek criminal charges.” It is unclear what criminal charges he would seek or what criminal charges were available for him. He is now convicted of stalking. 

The defendant is also accused of setting up a Facebook page called “Surviving Lies,” a play on the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which was broadcast by Netflix and discussed the lives of the survivors. During a podcast interview, the defendant displayed sexually explicit images of the victim on screen. 

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