The one thing I have learned more than anything else from a quarter century of being a reporter-type person is that crime can occur anywhere.
There’s no getting away from it. Stupid, bizarre, hostile, hateful acts cannot be hidden from. It’s not just a product of the Englewood neighborhood – which is what one might want to believe after hearing the day’s latest testimony in the trial of the man accused of crimes in connection with the death of actor Jennifer Hudson’s mother.
WHICH IS WHY a pair of crime stories from Thursday managed to catch my attention.
A part of me suspects that the people who live in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the far northern edge of Chicago (up against Evanston) think they’re immune to what some would like to think of as the miseries of urban life.
Or maybe they think that living so far north puts them far away from South Side life.
Yet the Chicago Tribune had an account of a jewelry store robbery on Devon Avenue with a twist – the robber didn’t get away because the store owner managed to get his pistol and shoot the would-be robber in his left hip.
THE STORE OWNER had his pistol confiscated by police, but he’s not facing any weapons-related charges. The robber, once he recovers from his bullet wound, will face an armed robbery charge.
It seems that in this particular robbery, the store owner’s wife and two grand-daughters were present, and the would-be robber even snatched some cheap jewelry (a butterfly necklace and a purse) from the 4-year-old grand-daughter.
It seems this robber was snatching at anything that had any potential for value – even the junk jewelry that a young child might wear just for fun.
In one way, this robbery had an element from the past – the image of an elderly store owner with a pistol located within easy reach of one of his hands. No high-tech security systems for this particular store.
YET ON THE other hand, the store had security cameras, and the would-be robber was sophisticated enough (even though when you really think about it, any robber or burglar is nothing more than a thug) to remember that fact.
At the moment he was shot, the Chicago Tribune says the man was messing around with a computer to try to deactivate the surveillance video.
Erase the evidence. Take it with him, along with that butterfly necklace that probably would have made him the laughingstock of the pawn shop world when he tried to “cash in” his ill-gotten prizes.
And I’m sure this store owner will gain some friends from the people who are just a little too eager to own firearms, since the Tribune reported that the man tried explaining to his grandchildren about the incident that, “not all guns are bad.”
IT’S JUST TOO bad that the man’s other dream (that his granddaughters will be capable of forgetting this incident someday) is not likely to come true. Because crime really is something that can happen anywhere.
Anywhere even includes the South Side neighborhoods, although it amazes me the way some people perceive the Bridgeport neighborhood – the one that has figured out how to maximize its political influence on account of the fact that so many mayors and so many Daleys grew up there.
Although the current resident of that famed house in the 3500 block of South Lowe Street is Patrick Daley Thompson (the Daley nephew and grandson), who later this year will take his seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board.
Yet the Chicago Police Department had its attention focused on Thursday two blocks to the east – on Parnell Avenue, to be exact.
A 25-YEAR-OLD MAN’S body was found in an alley in that block with a gunshot wound to his head.
Police didn’t identify the man right away, nor did they know up front who did the shooting – or why!
In fact, there is the potential that this will become yet another of the many shootings that take place so often that one tends to blend into another in just about every place possible.
It’s not just limited to the Englewood neighborhood.