CHICAGO — A Chicago man is charged with felony theft, accused of stealing a high-security Chicago police radio from the front desk of the Near West (12th) District station on Wednesday morning. And a migrant who lives at the station is charged with interfering with an officer who tried to arrest the man.
Prosecutors say Elvis Antunez, 30, of the 6000 block of South Sawyer, entered the station at 1412 South Blue Island around 6:40 a.m., stole a Chicago police radio from the front desk, and ran out with it. A CPD arrest report said Antunez still had the radio when officers caught him about a block from the station. The report calls him “a documented Satan Disciple” street gang member.
As Antunez tried to run from the scene with the radio, Diomedes Torres-Hidalgo, a 23-year-old migrant, battered a cop who responded to the theft, according to a CPD spokesperson.
His CPD arrest report said he ran into the path of officers chasing Antunez, apparently in an attempt to keep them from catching Antunez. The report said Hidalgo tried to escape from the officers who arrested him, and he was nearly struck by a passing cement truck.
An officer who received minor injuries was treated and released from a nearby hospital. A source familiar with the situation said the officer was tripped as they chased Antunez.
Torres-Hidalgo is charged with felony resisting or obstructing a peace officer and misdemeanor obstruction. There is no home address listed for him on his arrest report. The source said he lives either in the 12th District station’s lobby or a migrant camp that has sprung up in a nearby lot. He has no previous arrest record in Chicago.
Judge Kelly McCarthy ordered him to pay a $2,500 bail deposit for release.
Antunez is charged with felony theft of government property and four misdemeanor counts of reckless conduct. He has five previous cases listed in Cook County court records since 2013, all misdemeanors. Prosecutors dropped all but one of those cases, a 2015 misdemeanor battery for which he received probation, the records show.
Judge McCarthy ordered him to pay a $1,000 bail deposit to be released.
The Chicago Police Department recently encrypted the bulk of its radio transmissions, making it impossible for the public to listen to police activity in real time. Instead, the city allows Broadcastify to stream the radio feeds with a 30-minute delay.
Last month, a similar radio theft occurred at the Near North (18th) District station, 1160 North Larrabee. At about 8:30 a.m. on August 13, a teenage male stepped into the lobby, reached between two people filing a traffic crash report, and snatched a radio from the front desk, a CPD report said. That thief got away.
Tempers have been flaring at the 12th District station for days.
Migrants living in the station lobby do not get along with a group of migrants who set up camp in a nearby lot, CWBChicago reported last week after one of the lobby residents was threatened with a knife, beaten, and knocked unconscious by migrants who live in the camp.
On Tuesday, officers assigned to the district called for backup after migrants “revolted” when officers tried to arrest another migrant for assault, according to an officer at the scene. A CPD spokesperson confirmed that police arrested Juan Marquez Vielma, 20, for assault and trespassing after he threatened an officer.
Vielma reportedly fled from officers but was arrested when he appeared in front of the station shortly before 11 a.m. At that point, multiple sources said, other migrants intervened and tried to defeat the arrest.
“The whole camp tried to physically intervene and pull [the] offender from police,” an officer texted on Tuesday afternoon. “One migrant took a swing at a sergeant.
A CPD supervisor radioed for more units to come to the station: “Line in front of the station, cameras on! Line in front of the station, cameras on!”
Another officer soon reported that the migrants were “a little bit belligerent, but we got it under control.”
“We have about 200 migrants,” another sergeant estimated.
A source confirmed that district supervisors pulled two of the district’s patrol cars off the streets for the rest of the shift to maintain security at the station.
While two ambulances were summoned to the station during the incident, a CPD spokesperson said no injuries were reported in connection with Vielma’s arrest. The department did not answer directly when asked if any other arrests were made during the incident.