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Regional Police Report: Former Police Officers Charged in Murder, Extortion Plot

The following is a selection of police-related items reported in area Patches recently. Where arrests or charges are mentioned, it does not indicate a conviction.

Buffalo Grove

A Buffalo Grove resident was one of two former police officers charged Oct. 26 with attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion.

Federal investigators said Steven Mandell, 61, was involved in an alleged plot to whom he believed had access to large amounts of cash generated from commercial real estate holdings. Also charged was Gary Engel, 61, of Homer Glen.

The two were arrested Thursday following an undercover FBI investigation during which the intended victim, who was not identified, was never exposed to any immediate danger, authorities said in a statement. The criminal complaint was filed Oct. 26 in U.S. District Court.

Yorkville

Yorkville police are investigating the death of a 35-year-old man and a 4-year-old after their bodies were found in a home in the 300 block of Bertram Drive in Yorkville Wednesday afternoon.

Police discovered the man and boy after being called to the home at about 3:20 p.m. Wednesday for a well-being check, according to police. 

The man was identified as Joseph R. Schmitt, police said. According to the Auora Beacon-News, Kendall County Coronor Ken Toftoy said Scmitt and his son, Wyland, were found in the garage of the home. Cause of death is unclear.

A neighbor of the man who was found dead in his garage along with his 4-year-old son said Thursday afternoon he was a "really nice guy."

“It was a complete shock to everybody,” said neighbor Andrew Meyer, 18. “Me and my mom came home and saw all these cop cars. We’re like what happened? Did someone break in, was someone hurt?”

Des Plaines

Court OKs Firing of Cop Who Harassed Pro-lifers

A Des Plaines police officer’s off-duty conduct at an abortion protest in 2006 was “a legitimate basis for his discharge,” U.S. District Judge James Zagel stated, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

Dick Lalowski first approached pro-life demonstrators at a women’s healthcare clinic as a uniformed officer, then returned while off-duty in his own clothes and in his personal vehicle, Courthouse News Service reported.

In 2007 Lalowski was fired for verbally and physically harassing abortion demonstrators, on the recommendation of former Des Plaines Police Chief James Prandini, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Evanston

Teen Charged in Pizza Robbery

Evanston police charged an 18-year old Evanston man with robbery, alleging that he stole two pizzas from a delivery driver at knifepoint in early September. 

Terrell L. Farmby, of the 100 block of Ridge Avenue, was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 24, and charged with armed robbery, a felony, according to a press release from the police department. Police say he and another man held a knife to a Sarpino’s Pizza delivery driver at 3:15 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, then stole two pizzas from the driver.

Vernon Hills

Accountant Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

A north suburban certified public accountant and tax preparer pleaded guilty to engaging in a scheme to defraud US Bankcorp and five of his clients of more than $1.8 million.

The defendant, Jeffrey B. Travis, pleaded guilty to bank fraud yesterday, Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced this week.

Travis, 51, of Vernon Hills, remains free on bond while awaiting sentencing. Bank fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, and restitution is mandatory. Travis' plea agreement contemplates an advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines range of 63 to 78 months in prison.

Skokie

7-Eleven Robbed at Gunpoint

A 7-Eleven employee was robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 2 around 7:20 p.m.

According to police, two men entered the store at 3441 Church St. and approached the front counter. One of the suspects then leaned over and pointed a black and silver colored semi-automatic pistol at the clerk.

“Open the drawer and give me all of your money,” the suspect told the employee, according to the report. “And cigarettes, too. And open the safe.”

Bob G October 27, 2012 at 02:44 PM
These fools haven't been police in 30 years. Why the big emphasis that they were "former police" rather than just call them crooks ? This is not a "bad cop" story.
Pete October 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM
An what's with the cop being fired for protesting off duty in his plain cloths. Where is his freedom of speech. This whole country is so backwards....
GuitarMan October 28, 2012 at 07:09 PM
@ Bob G. Don't know how long they haven't been police, but its news because we expect police to be very ethical. If they are unethical (criminal) now, what kind of cops were they on the street. I don't know, and no one else truly does.
Tea October 28, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Hi Pete. I remember many moons ago when I was a young employee with the federal government, a union rep referred to me and my co-workers ad scabs because at that time we were non-union members. This remark was made after hours, on a Friday, and not on government property. On Monday morning, I went straight to the President of the union and made a complaint. Believe me, the union rep was raked over the coals. The bottom line, there are some positions of employment which one holds, where freedom of speech is not an option. Would you expect a former President of the United States to refer to American citizens as "scum" or "trash" or "worthless"?
Bob G November 03, 2012 at 02:59 PM
They havent been police in 30 years. This has nothing to do with police.
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I am very interested in teaching in your school district. My contact info. is 708-204-8477 and kernethajones@yahoo.com.
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