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A Walmart manager in Joliet has been charged with stealing $135K.

A former manager at a Joliet Walmart was arrested after allegedly stealing approximately $135,000 in cash from the store last year.

On Nov. 27, officers were called to the Walmart in the 2400 block of West Jefferson Street in response to a report of a previous theft.

Melissa Vanderwall, 47, of Romeoville, was working as a night manager when she allegedly emptied a large amount of cash from recyclers used to restock cash registers, according to an investigation.

Melissa Vanderwall WGN 9

Vanderwall allegedly left the store with a shopping bag containing $135,988. It was caught on surveillance video, and a warrant for her arrest was issued.

She turned herself in to the Joliet Police Department on Monday, according to police.

Vanderwall is charged with theft and burglary.

In a Chicago suburb, police are investigating four smash-and-grabs.

Elburn police are looking into four commercial burglaries that occurred early Wednesday morning.

Just after 1 a.m., officers responded to a reported burglary at the Mobil gas station in the 100 block of South Main Street.

The gas station’s front glass door had been shattered. When police arrived, there were no suspects on the scene.

Another burglary alarm went off in the 100 block of East Route 38 while police were still investigating at the gas station.

Overnight, police responded to four burglaries. The robberies occurred at the Smoke/Vape Shop, OMG Mexican Restaurant, and Subway.

At Rosati’s, there was also an attempted burglary.

According to police, the front door or window was smashed at each location. Money and other items were stolen.

Elburn police are looking into the matter. Officials are reminding business owners to check that security cameras are in place and working.

If you have any information about any of these crimes, please contact the Elburn Police Department and ask for Detective Scudiero.

Theft of a catalytic converter in a Chicago business parking lot was captured on video

Surveillance video captured a brazen catalytic converter theft in a Chicago business parking lot just as the workday was coming to an end.

Laura Poskus had not expected to end her workday by witnessing a group of four thieves steal from her. They arrived in less than three minutes with a jack and a Sawzall.

“As I look out the window, I see two people next to my car. I’m going, ‘What are they doing next to my car?'” she said. “And I literally screamed and scared my coworker.”

Poskus works in Portage Park for the candy company Arway Confections. Last Wednesday, thieves stole the catalytic converter from her Honda CRV in their parking lot.

“They’re so lackadaisical about it. They don’t even seem to be in that big a rush. You know what I mean, just like meh,” Poskus said.

In the video, two thieves work to remove the desired part while two others keep an eye on a black Audi sedan with another catalytic converter in the trunk.

The crew is armed, according to police, and in the video, you can see the person on the right reaching into his jacket while looking around.

According to police, the offenders are responsible for at least six catalytic converter thefts on the Northwest Side in the last week. Vehicle owners have been threatened with guns in some of the crimes, but in this case, the crew stole Poskus’ catalytic converter without a fight.

In the video, they toss it into the trunk of the Audi, along with the jack, and drive away.

“People who need to get to and from work and use that vehicle to get to and from their jobs, middle class people, they cannot afford that,” Poskus said.

Poskus even followed law enforcement advice to prevent this type of crime by having police spray paint her VIN number on the part with a stencil to make it identifiable, but the thieves still took it.

Carjackers steal a car in broad daylight in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood and then crash it shortly afterwards.

On Saturday, two carjackers stole a car in broad daylight in Chicago, but they did not get very far.

According to police, the 53-year-old victim was walking to his own car along South Vanderpoel near 92nd in Beverly around 2:30 p.m. when two men jumped out of another car. The men drew guns on him and carjacked him.

But they didn’t get very far.

The two suspects were apprehended less than two hours later at a crash scene near 98th and South Emerald, about three miles away.

A weapon was discovered at the scene, according to police.

Two south suburban police officers have been charged with extortion and theft during traffic stops.

Two police officers in south suburban Phoenix are facing extortion, theft, and bribery charges after allegedly shaking down motorists during traffic stops there and in neighboring Harvey.

A federal grand jury indicted Phoenix Police Sergeant Jarret Snowden, 34, and patrol Officer Antoine Larry, 46, on four counts. According to the 10-page indictment, the two conspired between 2020 and 2022 to “to corruptly solicit and obtain cash payments and other things of value, including controlled substances, from occupants of vehicles that LARRY and SNOWDEN encountered during traffic stops, in exchange for reducing, dropping or declining to press charges against the occupants…”

The indictment details seven robberies or bribes committed between October 2020 and December 2021, though federal officials believe both officers may have conspired to rob drivers as early as April 2020.

According to the indictment, the two would take illegal guns, drugs, or other contraband and then demand cash bribes in exchange for “reducing, dropping or declining to press charges” and allowing the drivers to keep their cars instead of having them impounded.

In one case, the couple is accused of selling drugs obtained illegally to a dealer and agreeing to split the proceeds.

According to the indictment, Larry and Snowden sometimes arranged for victims to meet them at a nearby gas station to pay a cash bribe. In some cases, officers enlisted the help of a “bagman” to collect payments.

According to the indictment, the officers extorted $8,000 from one victim. Other victims reported being forced to pay around $1,000.

The Phoenix police chief issued a statement on Tuesday, which read in part, “Both officers have been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the federal trial. We will not make any further comments to protect the integrity of the federal government’s investigation.”

Neither Larry nor Snowden are being held. According to an attorney for one of the officers, neither of them will be arraigned in court for several weeks.

Uptown Good Samaritan was shot by a group of armed car thieves.

A Good Samaritan who attempted to report a group of armed thieves breaking into cars in Uptown was injured and nearly lost his life when he became their next target.

“It’s a blessing! I mean, seeing like the graze on my head. It’s like if I had not started to duck down, it’s right there!” the victim said, pointing to the middle of his forehead.

It occurred while the victim, who requested to be identified only by his first name, Justin, was cycling home on Montrose near Racine in Uptown. He reported seeing a person near a Jeep with a broken window and another vehicle in tow.

“There were two guys in the car and a guy’s tying his shoe right by a bunch of glass. It just didn’t seem right,” Justin said. “They we’re all wearing black. They had neoprene masks.”

Therefore, he continued riding but stopped not far away, just down the block, where he claimed he attempted to call the police.

“I literally pulled the phone out. I hit the 9, and that’s when the shooting started,” he said.

Justin was struck in the elbow and also grazed in the head by a bullet.

“It broke both of those two bones. I have to have surgery to have all of that put back together. The bullet is still inside me,” he said.

His wounds will eventually heal, but the mental trauma will be more difficult to overcome, he said. He formerly resided in the vicinity of the shooting. Not any longer.

“We moved immediately!” he exclaimed.

Thieves steal checks from the mail, alter them with check washing techniques, and steal thousands of dollars.

Thieves are stealing checks from the mail and altering them with check washing techniques in order to steal from you.

One woman’s check was changed from $9 to more than $9,000 and cashed by thieves. A 95-year-old World War II veteran from Chicago is fighting to recover a $7,500 stolen check. Both checks had been mailed.

“He was drafted at the age of 18. He fought for his country and is extremely proud of it “Theresa Olive, Will Ricks Srdaughter, .’s stated

Ricks, of Auburn Gresham, served in the Army during WWII. He is now 95 years old. US Bank sent him a $6,300 refund check, but he and his family claim it was stolen from the mail and cashed by thieves two years ago.

“It’s my money,” Ricks declared.

“We’ve been fighting since March 16, 2019 to get his money back,” Olive said.

The family reported the theft to the Federal Reserve and US Bank. The bank sent them a copy of the check, proving that it was cashed.

“We find out that it’s been cashed out of state,” Olive explained. “It had a forged signature on it. And, at the age of 95, there’s no way he’d travel out of state to cash that check at a Walmart.”

The claim is still pending, according to US Bank, as the bank gathers more information from Ricks.

“I just want them to refund his money. Allow him to rest in peace “Olive stated.

Mail theft incidents, such as mail box thefts and postal carrier robberies, have increased across the country. Since the beginning of September, 39 members of the Chicago branch of the National Association of Letter Carriers have been robbed of mail and mail box keys.

The I-Team reported in February that local post office mail boxes had been broken into, mail had been dumped in the garbage by letter carriers, and mail had been burned on a grill.

Joyce Goldenstern, of the South Loop, claims that in July, someone stole her check from the mail and doctored it, a practice known as check washing.

“They whited out the name and the amount,” she explained. “The $9.12 cents were changed to $9,900. It’s my retirement savings.”

She noticed the nearly $10,000 missing from her account right away, filed a police report, and called her bank, Fifth Third Bank. According to her, the presumed thief deposited the altered check using the thief’s bank’s phone app.

“Their software didn’t check it and my bank didn’t clear it by me, because I never write checks for that amount, that much,” Goldenstern explained.

According to her, Fifth Third Bank told her that the investigation and refund would take about six months.

A spokesperson for Fifth Third Bank said the funds were returned to Goldenstern about a week after the I-Team alerted them.

Fifth Third also stated that it is committed to assisting customers in avoiding fraud and encourages them to use online or mobile payments instead of checks.

“What we’re seeing right now is an increase in check washing scams,” FBI Special Agent Siobhan Jonson said.

According to Johnson, criminals can easily change and cash checks.

“First and foremost, when you mail a check don’t put it in your home mailbox if you have the option of going directly to the post office and dropping it off there,” she advised. “The most basic is as easy as going to the supermarket and purchasing a $3 antifraud pen. You buy those pens with special ink and they make it so much more difficult to wash the ink right off the check.”

Johnson also advised avoiding the blue target boxes. Goldenstern stated that she mailed her check in this manner.

According to the United States Postal Service, it delivers over 150 billion pieces of mail each year, and sending mail is one of the most secure ways to send information.

Customers should keep an eye on their accounts and notify law enforcement and the Postal Inspection Service if they suspect mail theft.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  1. Do not allow incoming or outgoing mail to pile up in your mailbox.
  2. Remove mail from your mailbox as soon as it arrives, especially if it contains checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items.
  3. Deliver incoming mail to a Post Office facility.
  4. Contact the issuing party as soon as possible if you do not receive a check or other valuable mail.
  5. Enroll in USPS Informed Delivery to get a better idea of what mail you can expect to receive each day.
  6. Monitor your financial accounts and credit profiles for any fraudulent activity, even if you are not a victim of mail theft, and report any suspicious activity to your financial institution as soon as possible. Early detection is critical! Consider credit freezes with the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax).
  7. If a Postal customer becomes a victim of mail theft or identity theft as a result of mail theft, they should immediately notify local law enforcement as well as the Postal Inspection Service at 877-876-2455, and closely monitor their financial accounts and credit profiles to stay ahead of any fraudulent activity.
  8. The FBI claims that all of your information is on the bottom of your check. It is not as safe as you believe. The routing number, as well as the number of your bank account, are all being used.

A $7.5 million theft ring that was allegedly stealing and reselling retail items was busted by police in a wealthy Chicago suburb.

Eight people have been apprehended by police in Wilmette, a wealthy suburb north of Chicago, for their involvement in a ring that is accused of stealing $7.5 million worth of goods from several retail establishments within and outside of Chicago.
The Wilmette Police Department (WPD) executed 12 search warrants on Oct. 6 in Chicago, Cicero, Oak Lawn, Bolingbrook, and three in California, aided by partners from local, federal, and retail-focused law enforcement. After about a year of investigation, the $7.5 million worth of stolen property was recovered.
“The good police work is the main reason I’m proud.According to Fox News Digital, WPD Chief Kyle Murphy, “It’s having detectives who are knowledgeable and skilled and who are able to handle a complex, organized retail crime investigation.”It’s working well with our private retailers and the organized retail crime groups that they run.We would not be able to successfully investigate or prosecute this case without that partnership.”


The leaders of the ring would hire people to steal from major Chicago-area retailers, mostly from over-the-counter items.Murphy explained that the thieves would then resell the stolen items to ring leaders’ storefronts, where they would earn “10 to 20 cents on the dollar.”The ring leaders would then attempt to sell the items online and ship them to the East and West Coasts by stripping them of their identifying retailer information.One officer made an initial arrest for retail theft and inquired about the suspect’s plans to sell stolen goods.According to Murphy, the suspect gave the officer a location, which set off a larger investigation into the theft ring.
Retail organized crime is on the rise.According to the police chief’s explanation, “it has a negative economic impact on retailers.”The most pressing issue for us is safety.On third-party online marketplaces, the majority of these over-the-counter medications, allergy products, and healthcare products are resold.The consumer is unaware of the location from which they purchase expired medications.”
The theft ring has led to multiple charges against each of the eight suspects.
Hani Hamad, 51, is facing charges of theft, money laundering, wire fraud, and filing a false income tax return in the Chicago area.The 48-year-old Iaad Hamad faces charges of organizing a continuing financial crime organization, theft, money laundering, and failing to file an income tax return.The 41-year-old Michael Beals is being accused of failing to file an income tax return and continuing a financial crime enterprise.Theft, money laundering, wire fraud, and filing a false income tax return are among the charges brought against Fe Kiesha Hamlin, 41;The charges against Markell Spencer, 35, include conspiracy to launder money and maintaining a financial business.
Dyland Bryant, 28, is facing charges of theft, money laundering, and conspiracy to launder money in California.Theft, money laundering, and conspiracy to launder money are all charges brought against 27-year-old Donald Kimball;Additionally, Brett Pendleton, 26, faces charges of conspiracy to launder money, theft, and money laundering.
They each have bail ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.
According to police, the defendants used their illegal proceeds to fund the operation by purchasing residential properties and setting up multiple bank accounts in an effort to conceal where they got the money from selling the stolen goods.

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