Migrants, cops clash again after thief steals high-security Chicago police radio from station’s front desk

CHICAGO — For the second day in a row, migrants living at the Near West (12th) District station have clashed with Chicago police officers who work there.

Wednesday’s incident began around 6:40 a.m. in the station’s lobby, 1412 South Blue Island.

Without identifying the location as a police station, a Chicago police spokesperson said, A male offender took property from the above location and attempted to flee.”

CWBChicago learned that the item stolen was a pricey police radio that transmits and receives encrypted transmissions that the public cannot hear.

Cops chased the thief, and a migrant living at the station tripped one of the officers to help the thief get away, according to a source.

The CPD spokesperson confirmed that “a second offender then battered a responding officer. The officer sustained minor injuries and was transported to an area hospital in good condition.”

Despite the migrant’s efforts, officers caught the thief and recovered the radio. Both the thief and the migrant who tripped the officer are in custody with charges pending. @tired_photog posted some video of one of the arrests to Twitter:

A source familiar with the situation said the thief was a local gang member who had been offered $1,000 to steal the highly secure radio.

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.

Unlike Wednesday’s thief, he got away. The report said he was Hispanic, 15 or 16 years old, and escaped in a red Honda with dark tints and a black bumper.

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.

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.

A video clip sent to CWBChicago shows the recent state of affairs in the 12th District lobby, where dozens of migrants sleep on the floor, often with little padding. At one point, a very young child is seen lying on the floor, wrapped in a pink blanket with no pillow. Watch:

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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 news@cwbchicago.com