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  • GPS' Use Goes Past Directions

    While most of us are familiar with GPS (Global Positioning System) units that provide directions - like the popular Garmin nüvi or the TomTom - GPS has uses than to tell us, "Turn Right at Intersection."

    For instance, shipping services use GPS to determine where their delivery trucks are at all times. Airlines, the military, and law enforcement use GPS to locate lost aircraft, search for vessels on the high seas, or track cell phone emergency calls.

    GPS receivers are also installed in taxi cabs, as a Chicago man found out early Sunday morning.

    Travis E. Conner III, aged 18, is being charged with one count robbery and aggravated vehicular hijacking after he carjacked man is charged with robbery and aggravated vehicular hijacking after police found him at a gas station through the GPS in a stolen taxi cab.

    Conner stole the taxi at gunpoint around 3:30 AM on Sunday. Unfortunately for him, he made two crucial mistakes; the first was that the cab was equipped with a GPS tracking device. The second? He dropped his cell phone at the scene of the crime.

    Not long after Conner's bungled crime, Chicago police found him at a gas station near 6300 North Central Avenue. He was identified, and police confiscated a semi-automatic handgun during the arrest.

    Clearly, Conner is not up-to-date on today's GPS technology, as evidenced by his theft of a tracked vehicle. However, you can be ahead of the learning curve. Just check out U-Spy Stores GPS tracking devices. Our professionally installed units can be employed to track your teen driver's travels, use of work vehicles by employees, or even to find out is your spouse is going to the places he/she said they were. The GPS can notify you when it has left the designated area. By placing the MT100 in a vehicle, users can have alerts sent to a cell phone or email address whenever the vehicle moves. The user's cell can also remotely track the vehicle in real time, with text messages sent within seconds of the last known position of the vehicle. We also have units that have fleet tracking capabilities.

  • How to Avoid Being Followed Home

    While we don't want to think about the fact that criminals can follow us from a gas station or shopping mall to our homes, it happens more than one would think. Just last week a 58-year-old Chicagoland businessman was followed home and then severely beaten inside the home as his helpless family was forced to watch.

    Abbas Darwish, a convenience store owner, is in fair condition at Good Samaritan Hospital following the April 15th attack. His injuries include broken ribs, a broken nose, and bruised lungs. His wife and two sons were also treated for injuries following the early morning attack.

    The police have two men in custody and are looking for four more. While Mr. Darwish and his family are expected to recover, some aren't as lucky. So, it is always best to be aware of your surroundings and anything that seems to be out of place, whether walking, driving, exercising, etc. as we move into the summer months.

    If you think that you're being followed, there are several precautions to take to keep yourself safe:

    • Frequently check the rearview mirror to see if you are being followed.  If you believe that you are, DO NOT drive home. Instead drive to the nearest police station, fire station or other place of safety such as a crowded parking lot.
    • If you believe you're being followed but aren't sure, make three consecutive left hand or right hand turns. If the car is still behind you, DO NOT drive home.
    • Remember it is important to know where you are so police officers can respond if needed. Know your direction of travel.
    • If you have a cellular phone, call 9-1-1. Try to get a good description of the vehicle that is following you including the vehicle's make, color and license plate number if possible.
    • Don't stop if the vehicle following bumps your car or otherwise tries to get you to pull over.
    • Do not try to be a hero. Don't take any action that would jeopardize your own safety.
    • Carry a small camera, use your cell phone camera, or equip your car with a dash cam and record, or take pictures, of the followers.

    While statistics show that women are more likely to be followed than men, as evidenced by the above story, it can happen to both men and women. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm, and avoid the instinct to stomp on the gas to get away. The more relaxed and controlled you stay, the greater the likelihood that your followers will grow bored with the "chase;" especially if it is a meandering path to nowhere.

  • Think Twice About a Face Tattoo

    If you're going to lead a life of crime, don't get a tattoo on your face...it could be what's known as an identifying mark.

    A transient in San Francisco, replete with the words "Why Try" tattooed on the front of his melon has been charged with carjacking; he forced an elderly man from his car, choked him, and then drove away. He returned minutes later to choke the man again.

    The carjacker reportedly swung the older man around like a rag doll until a resident who witnessed the crime stopped the attack. The elderly many survived, but was hospitalized. According to police, he was just moments away from death.

    Police in Oakland police spotted the tattooed transient driving the stolen car, and he was identified by...you guessed it: "Why Try," a tattoo over the carjackers eyes. He was arrested and positively chosen out of a lineup.

    Now "Why Try" is trying to figure out "Why Me," an answer obvious to the rest of us. He is in jail now, being held without bail on attempted murder, robbery, carjacking, and elderly abuse charges. He also has a prior record...I guess the tattoo doesn't work to well during burglaries, either.

    To all you kids out there, take this down as a lesson...

  • Illinois Attorney General to Stop Sexual Predator's Release

    The office of Illinois' Attorney General (IAG) is working to stop the release of a serial child molester and pedophile who is scheduled to be released at the end of February, filing a petition to halt Danny Schwab from leaving prison.

    Schwab, known as "Dancing Danny" is in prison following a string of sexual assaults in the Belleville area. He was imprisoned in 2002. The nickname "Dancing Danny" stems from his modus operandi of meeting young people at parties and using alcohol and drugs to lower their defenses before assaulting them. His victims were young boys.

    The IAG is using the Sexually Violent Persons Act as the basis for their petition. This act was enacted to keep offenders that are likely to continue committing violent sexual acts in treatment facilities after they've served their time in prison. The act is designed to keep offenders away from the public until it is deemed that they're no longer a threat.

    On Friday, prosecutors head to court to present a case that there is definite evidence pointing to the fact that "Dancing Danny" will re-offend if released. The IAG's office will present significant mental reasons behind their petition to hold Schwab.  According to BND.com;

    Dr. M. Bellew Smith, a state psychiatrist, conducted an evaluation on Feb. 2 that was attached to the petition that found Schwab was a homosexual pedophile with anti-social and narcissistic personality defects.

    Schwab was supposed to spend 40 years in prison but the sentence was reduced to 14 years.

  • Police Seize More Weapons...Including Rocket Launcher

    Once we worried that terrorists were able to access high-tech military equipment, often made by the United States, to use against armed forces. In the past decade, we've worried that criminals were better armed than the police.

    The Chicago Police Department turned up a weapons cache last week that highlighted both those worries as they uncovered another large stockpile of weapons;  the third in three weeks. The first, you may remember, was confiscated after a man shot a dog from his window in a northern Chicagoland suburb. The second was the result of a raid on Chicago's south side.

    The latest took place on the west side, the Organized Crime Division recovering 13 weapons and an anti-tank weapon after searching several properties.

    The man charged in the case is a allegedly a member of the 4-Corner Hustlers, one of Chicago's many street gangs. He was charged with 11 counts of misdemeanor firearms possession and one count of  misdemeanor possession of ammunition.

    The police did not elaborate as to why the crimes were no felonies. The weapons recovered included shotguns, rifles, semi-auto handguns and a disposable Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW), or rocket launcher.

    Andre Tatum, 41, of the 800 block of North Lawler is being held on bond for the possession crimes.

  • Drew Peterson Hearing Update

    On  March 1, 2004, neighbors discovered the lifeless body of  Kathleen Savio in an empty bathtub. According to reports from the Peterson hearing on Chicago Breaking News. Neighbor Mary Pontarelli found Kathleen Savio and, upon seeing her lifeless body, threw herself on a bed and beat it with her fists. Savio and Pontarelli were close, their families traveling and spending holidays with one another. In confidence, Savio told her friend that her ex-husband, Drew Peterson, would kill her.

    Other witnesses stated that Savio made sure that the doors were locked and the house secure, fearing that Peterson would eventually attempt to take her life. A locksmith testified that only one of three locks on the door was in use the night of Savio's death.

    Pontarelli's son backed his mom's testimony, stating that Savio had stated that Peterson would attempt to kill her. Savio's death occurred two weeks prior to the property settlement hearing in her divorce from Peterson.

    Pontarelli's son also stated that, according to Savio, Drew Peterson had bugged the home and was recording conversations. She showed the then 14-year old a box attached to a phone extension in the basement.

    Mary Pontarelli stated in court that years earlier Savio had phoned her, stating that Peterson was trying to kill her. Pontarelli went outside and a terrified Savio ran to her, stuffing a letter for an attorney down her blouse. Ptold the court that one day in 2001, Savio called her to say Peterson was trying to kill her. When she went outside, Savio ran out and shoved a letter that she had been trying to fax to an attorney down Pontarelli's blouse. The letter, written anonymously, stated that Peterson was having an affair, and warned Savio to; "Protect yourself and your family."

    An EMT testified that a towel from the crime scene photos had not been there upon arrival. The defense countered by asking him if he had seen towels and a bathrobe behind the door to the bathroom. The EMT stated that he had not.

    Stacy Peterson, Drew Peterson's fourth wife who is missing and presumed dead, confided to her pastor that Peterson had disappeared the night of Savio's death and had coached her to lie about his whereabouts. The Pastor's testimony was taken last Friday.

  • Protect Loved Ones in Nursing Homes

    The Chicago Tribune has been running an ongoing investigation into abuse allegations stemming from nursing homes. That's right, the people that many everyday Chicagoans trust to take care of their loved ones are taking that trust and tearing it right from our beating hearts.

    Since 2006, Chicago authorities have investigated 86 cases of sexual abuse against the disable and elderly nursing home residents in the Chicagoland area. A single case resulted in a single arrest, meaning that the rest of the predators in nursing homes are still roaming free.

    Statistically, this reflects 25% of the city's nursing homes, or 30 homes. Out of those 30, that's 3 sexual assaults in each over a 2 1/2 year period.

    Sexual predators are able to access unlocked doors in nursing homes, able to choose their victims with little fear of being caught. The Tribune reported that of those 86 cases, only 9 were reported at or near the time they occurred, and one was reported months afterwards.

    The sexual attacks are mainly a result of  residents attacking other residents; the one prosecution was an orderly. Police report that a small percent involve visitors or strangers. The high incidence of attacks between residents is due to the fact that Illinois houses younger psychiatric patients in nursing homes, many of them with criminal records; according to the Tribune:

    Government records show that the 30 Chicago facilities where rapes were reported were roughly twice as likely to house convicted felons and mentally ill patients as the 89 city nursing homes without a sexual assault allegation.

    While increasing staff levels will help abate the nursing home abuse, you can take steps to protect elderly patients that cannot protect themselves.  If you fear that some sort of abuse is taking place, whether it's over-medication, physical violence, negligent care, or sexual abuse, U-Spy Store carries a variety of products to help the elderly.

    For instance, you could purchase a personal panic alarm. They're low-cost and extremely loud, drawing attention from the staff or other patients that someone is in trouble. Another method is to install a motion-activated door alarm that can be turned on at night or when a resident does not want to, or is incapable of, receiving visitors. There are also numerous ways to monitor activity when patients are asleep or alone. Discrete audio recording devices will document any conversation that happen in a patients room. Further, hidden cameras are able to be installed anywhere, capturing video of the resident's room. The cameras can activate on motion or sound. Finally, there are cameras pre-installed in normal household items:

    • Clocks
    • Clock Radios
    • Smoke Detectors
    • Air Purifiers
    • A common ink pen
    • Watches
    • Key Chains
    • Personal Radios
    • Coke Cans

    If you need help with any of these items, please contact U-Spy Store. Our email address is info@uspystore.com, or give us a call: (773) 529-2779.

  • Criminal Behavior Repeats Itself

    An Illinois man from Grayslake, accused of shooting a dog, was held on $400,000 bond earlier this week. Mr. Elvin Dooley shot a black Chow-mix on Tuesday, January 26th, 2009. The dog was left in the parking lot of a No-Kill adoption center on according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.
    The court also ordered Mr. Dooley to turn in 21 weapons and rounds of ammunition that were found by police when he was arrested. According to the Daily Herald, Dooley had thousands of rounds.

     

    The story unfolded on Tuesday when the animal was dropped off. Employees were trying to convince the dog to enter the shelter when it ran off with the manager of the shelter giving chase in her car. The dog cut across a field near Townline road
    when she heard a gunshot.

    She noticed a man holding a rifle aiming from the front of his house, and then heard two more shots. She then confronted the man, but he ran into his house. She picked up the wounded animal and took it to an emergency vet.

    The dog died from a gunshot wound to its neck. Dooley was arrested on Friday for aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony.
    Not surprisingly, Elvin Dooley had done a a couple of stints in prison, once in Alabama in 1974, and again for a West Virgina burglary conviction in 1996. Some people just never figure it out...

    Oh, some additional charges that he racked up after killing the dog: Unlawful use of a weapon (felons aren't allowed to vote or possess firearms), unlawful possession of ammo (felons can't have bullets, either), and possession of weapons with an Illinois State Firearms ID.
    Dooley, of course, denied he'd been shooting his gun. Then, he changed the story, saying that he fired his rifle at some cans. He was also ignorant to the fact that he'd shot a stray dog that was running with his scoped rifle...it must have gotten in the way of the cans.

    The part-time hardware store worker doubts that the store will take him back due to all of the publicity. Boo Hoo. Maybe he'll get free room and board, a courtesy extended to him by the taxpayers of Illinois.

    It's unknown whether he'll be able to make his bail, which is 10% of the total bond amount, or $40,000. Maybe he should sell his gun collection...oh...never mind. The police have it.

    And there you have it...idiotic crime of the week. Remember when I said that criminals were stupid?

  • Illinois Band Says "Boom Boom Pow" Stolen by Black Eyed Peas

    No doubt you've seen Will-I-Am and Fergie, the two "front people" for the musical group Black Eyed Peas, and no doubt you've heard their music. But, did you know that an Aurora, IL band, Phoenix Phenom just filed a suit in Federal Court accusing the Peas stealing the hit Boom Boom Pow from them?

    According to the Aurora Beacon News, Manny Mohr and Ebony Latrice Batts, aka the Phoenix Phenom, co-wrote a song in 2007 that the members from the Peas stole the song. The law suit names each one of the Black Eyed Peas individually as well as Universal Music Group, Interscope Records, & the publishing companies that claim ownership in the Peas' latest CD, The E.N.D.

    Read More

  • Serial Rapist and Fugitive Sentenced

    James Fuller, a convicted serial rapist and one-time fugitive from justice was sentenced to life in prison early this week. Fuller, now 44, was labeled as a habitual criminal due to a series of crimes that began in Kansas in 1981. An Illinois State law, much like the 3-strikes law, states that habitual criminals are subjected to life in prison according to the Peoria Journal Star.

    Fuller, along with another inmate, escaped from Peoria County jail last November, but both were caught within the next day.

    Fuller was convicted by jury in December 2009 for a series of rapes in Peoria in 2006. He also had a rape conviction in Kansas, and two armed robbery convictions in his past. Which kinda makes you wonder why he was out of prison in the first place...

    Judge Michael Brandt ruled that certified copies of his former convictions were legitimate, which mandated the life sentence. Fuller read a statement while in court, blaming the police and others for framing him for the 2006 assaults. He said that he was a likely suspect because the police didn't have any leads on the rape crimes, and so they conveniently conspired to choose him. Although quiet in court during the sentencing, Fuller has a history of dramatic court appearances, claiming that devils were about and that his attorney was secretly in league with the prosecution to put him in jail. Other times, he never showed up to his hearings due to his failure to participate. He has also been removed from court due to outbursts.

    Fuller claimed that DNA evidence found under the fingernails of one victim, as well as the DNA from three other victims were "planted" by the police after initial tests showed that he was not a match.

    The prosecution noted that his earlier crimes, and the fact that evidence led police to believe that Fuller had raped at least nine women, was enough to hand him the maximum sentence. He had changed other's lives forever and had to pay for his actions.

    We're sure to hear more from Fuller; he is coming up for trial in April on another sexual assault (surprise) and also faces charges for breaking out of jail.

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