Reporting Dave Savini
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Northwest Side community feels under siege after being blanketed with tickets by a Chicago police officer.
CBS 2′s Dave Savini investigated the cases of suburbanites being ticketed in Chicago for not having a city sticker.
Mike Spilotro’s sister lives in North Riverside, and her car is registered there. It even has a Riverside sticker in the car window.
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But she received more than 20 tickets in two and a half weeks while visiting Spilotro’s Chicago home. Each one is for $120, which totals up to thousands of dollars in fines.
“I think the city is just broke and they’re looking for money,” Spilotro says.
All the tickets were written by the same officer, Gary Sanabria, who allegedly has been blanketing the cars of suburban visitors with tickets.
Rocio Rodriguez says this is very frustrating.
“That’s a lot of money,” said Rodriguez, who fought her tickets and had them all dismissed.
Her mother is about to fight her tickets, too. Mike Spilotro has successfully gotten almost all of his sister’s tickets dismissed, and he says the officer is wasting city time.
Another person being ticketed is Edenson Galiendez’s brother-in-law, who also has a valid Northlake city sticker. He received so many tickets they wrote a note asking the officer to stop.
“And he still kept giving us a ticket,” Galiendez says.
His brother-in-law fought and got one ticket dismissed, but then was hit with three more. He does not have the time to keep fighting these tickets, so he may just pay.
Frustrated by all of these tickets, Rocio Rodriguez filed a complaint against the officer, and the tickets stopped.
But when CBS 2 contacted the Chicago Police Department and the alderman to find out how this could be happening, the officer started writing tickets again.
Spilotro’s sister received two more tickets. Mike Spilotro says he now needs to hide visitors’ cars in his garage.
“Times are rough,” Spilotro says. “There’s no money, and the city is trying to squeeze every dollar they can out of everybody.”
The Chicago Police Department has yet to comment on the specifics of why the tickets were written on this particular street. The alderman in the 31st Ward, Ray Suarez, did not return repeated phone calls.