SIDEBAR: Details Of The Convicted Felon Who Patrols Boystown For Hire

Part Three of our series about the relationship between policing and private security patrols in Wrigleyville and Boystown goes up Wednesday morning.

In Part One of our series, we reported that Ronald J. Lye, a convicted felon who previously worked for Walsh Security in Boystown while his state security license was revoked, has returned to patrol for the firm after securing a probationary license from regulators.

Some readers asked for more information about the man’s alleged criminal conduct.

Here it is, from his former defense attorney’s website:

ST. CHARLES – An Aurora man charged with repeatedly posing as a police officer and taking people’s money in 1999 pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felonies, but won’t go to prison for his crimes…

[A] former security guard at the Howard Johnson Hotel in North Aurora, was accused of pretending to be a police officer and intimidating people on or near the hotel. In some cases, he reportedly entered occupied hotel rooms and questioned them. Some victims said [he] released them only after they paid him a fine for some violation, according to North Aurora police officials.

…The Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office dropped numerous other charges, including armed robbery and armed violence, that would have carried prison sentences of between six and 30 years.

“The more serious charges were dismissed. He pled guilty to using the oscillating blue light, which I believe he wasn’t even aware was a crime,” said David Camic…after the court accepted the plea agreement.

In detailing the state’s allegations against the man and a co-worker, the Chicago Tribune wrote in September 1999:

Two security guards from [a] North Aurora hotel were being held Wednesday on $100,000 bail at Kane County Jail after being accused of shaking down hotel guests and illegally detaining undercover police officers.

Meanwhile, police were asking anyone who might have been the victims of suspected additional shakedowns to contact them….

Undercover officers on Friday were sitting in a vehicle at 340 Smoketree Plaza, on land adjacent to hotel property, when two security guards approached them in a dark pickup truck with a flashing strobe light and detained them, police said….

The undercover investigation was spurred by a Sept. 1 report from a Tennessee businessman who told police two of his employees were the victims of a shakedown by men wearing police-like uniforms and carrying guns.

According to the businessman’s report, a 20-year-old employee was in a hotel room on Aug. 7 when he answered a knock on the door by two security guards. After seeing a beer in the room, the guards handcuffed him and threatened to take him to jail, the report stated.

When the handcuffed man’s boss came in the room, they accused him of buying the beer and threatened to take both men to jail unless they made a payment of $100, the report stated. The boss gave the guards $100 and both men were released, it stated.

The report stated that when interviewed, both guards said they took money from the Tennessee men for damaging a room and wrote them a citation for unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

In 1996, Lye was arrested in Aurora “after a citizen reported a man posing as a police officer with a gun,” the Chicago Tribune reported at the time. The outcome of that criminal case was not immediately available.

Lye is now holding a probationary license to work as a security guard in the state and Walsh’s hiring of him is now within regulatory limits.

A fair question to ask: Are there no other candidates who don’t have such a history?

Update May 19, 2020 — New information provided to CWBChicago indicates that no firearms were involved in the suburban incidents. We are leaving the Tribune quotes in their original form.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is