Fake Cops Targeting Houses On Northwest Side

UPDATED 11/02/11 7:11 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A frightening warning has been issued on the city’s Northwest Side, about men who have been knocking on doors posing as undercover Chicago Police officers.

As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, Grand Central Area detectives say in three separate incidents in the Irving Park, Mayfair and Jefferson Park neighborhoods, the men, ranging in age from about 18 to 36, knocked on the homes of doors and told homeowners they were police officers or undercover officers.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

In each, the men had police paraphernalia, such as gold badges and radios. In two of the attempts, they got into the homes but later fled in a large, dark red sport-utility vehicle or navy Blue Town & Country van, a community alert said.

The men are described as white and/or Hispanic, 5-foot-7 to 6-foot-3, and 140 to 230 pounds They were wearing baseball caps, zippered gray sweatshirts or black hooded sweatshirts, the alert said.

The incidents happened on Saturday about 6 p.m. in the 4000 block of North Harding Avenue; on Sunday about 5 p.m. in the 4900 block of North Karlov Avenue; and about 5:15 p.m. on Sunday in the 5000 block of West Gunnison Street.

Dorothy Martorano’s house was among those targeted by the fake cops. Hers was one of two homes in which the suspects made it inside.

“It’s disturbing, because there they were in the house,” she said.

The fake officers showed up at Martorano’s house on Sunday afternoon.

They didn’t knock. Martorano first became aware of their presence when she heard one of them rummaging through her living room.

When she went to check it out she couldn’t believe her eyes.

“There was a guy standing in the middle of our front room, and I said, ‘Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?’” she said. “And he said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry, we’re the police,’ and he flashed a badge.”

Martorano initially believed the men, who made up a story about a four man robbery crew that surveillance had supposedly picked up casing Martorano’s garage.

“‘They’re in your garage, and they’re going through all your stuff,’ and so I, of course, immediately turn around to see what the heck is going on in the garage,” Martorano said.

That was when Martorano spotted the fake cops three accomplices. She started to become suspicious of the men but allowed them into her home.

But alarm bells really started going off when one of them left the group and started making a racket in another room.

“So I went to see what was going on, and did not stay in the kitchen, and there was a guy going through drawers, and I said, ‘That has nothing to do with what you’re talking about,’” said.

Finally, she called 911.

“Thank God I was able to do that; I mean, I don’t know. It could have been a very dangerous situation. But I picked up 911, and I started talking to the operator, and then what I heard in the background was, ‘Oh, she’s calling,’ and then they took off,” she said.

Another resident, Terrence Gallagher, suspects the same group of men bluffed their way into his home posing as contractors and stole a ring.

“I want them picked up. I want them arrested,” Gallagher said. “There’s a lot of elderly people in this neighborhood. This is a good neighborhood, and they’re taking advantage of the elderly people, and people like me and things. I mean, they need to be picked up. Something’s going to happen.”

Gallagher says he is certain he was targeted by the same men now posing as police officers.

“They had walkie-talkie-type telephones,” he said. “Same guys, no doubt.”

Police advise everyone to be vigilant, and remind the public that all Chicago Police officers carry a five-point star and identification card. You may ask anyone who comes to your door to show his or her badge and ID card before allowing entry, and call 911 for anyone suspicious.

Anyone with information should call detectives at (312) 746-8282.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • EX-PO

    Those punks have no idea how lucky they were,that neighborhood is loaded with off duty police ,fireman ,city employee`s and armed veterans.
    That`s why racial profiling is justied.Citizens don`t know they can call the police
    and tell the 911 dispatcher NOT to send to the caller`s llocation,tell the 911 you whant NO further involvement after making your report.
    Th city should advertise that fact!!! They don`t it help leesan a lot crime if they did!!!!!!!

  • Klaus

    How do we know they were not cops? They nabbed NYPD cops in a theft ring last week.

  • Rich

    No warrant, you ain’t coming in MY house. Badge, no badge I don’t care if half the marked cars in town are out front. Get a warrant!

    Question authority!

    • Mark Matis

      Better get ready to be dead, then. After all, this is the Chicago police we are talking about. And the US Supreme Court has said they don’t NEED no steenkin’ warrant…

      • RJ

        Oh, I agree with the previous statement. I don’t care if they have guns pointed at my head – if they’re not trying to arrest me and want to search my house – no way.

  • harry p.pickle

    ever notice this dont happen in areas you can arm yourself??

    • Sal Gomes

      Unfortunately, that is not 100% correct though I do agree with the sentiment. Recently, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that you cannot threaten or perform any type of violence against the police even if they are entering your home/business illegally. This is relevant because now a group such as this will know that, for fear of being prosecuted, no one will act against anyone who even portrays themselves as an officer. Thank you, Indiana Supreme Court, for potentially making us victims or corpses if something like this were to happen in Indiana. Really. Thank you.

  • Danneskjold Repossessions

    This is a direct result of a recent supreme court ruling which said, “Regardless of whether or not a warrant is present, a US citizen does not have the right to physically stop a COP from entering the home when they do not have a warrant or RAS.”

    COPs or those impersonating COPs can now legally enter homes and conduct fishing operations, and there is nothing US Citizens can do about it. They can challenge it in court later, but they can’t stop it at that moment.

    Freedom is really a dying cause.

    • VinaSestonari

      That’s true. You don’t have the right to physically stop a cop from doing something unlawful. That’s what the court was saying.

      The court was not saying that they LEGALLY can enter your home without a warrant… they were saying that you can’t physically stop them if they are doing something illegal.

  • Dave

    “knocked on the homes of doors and told homeowners…”
    I didn’t know doors had homes.
    What are they teaching in journalism schools nowadays?

  • http://uk.camilleri.nl/2011/11/fake-cops-targeting-chicago-residents/ Fake cops targeting Chicago residents | CRIMESITE CAMILLERI

    […] men going around knocking on doors, posing as undercover police officers. According to CBS station WBBM, Grand Central Area detectives say there have been three separate incidents of men, age 18-36, […]

  • VinaSestonari

    NEVER let a cop into your home who just shows up at your door, unless you have previously invited them for some reason, or unless they have a warrant. There is absolutely no reason to allow them in, and you can transact any required business with them outside.

  • walter12

    Well that is life in a city where the arch-leftists have run for over fifty years and a city with a city council that would do the old Soviet Unilon proud. Crime is always an issue with the people but not the leftist politicians in Chicago. They don’t care about that problem.

  • GlockG20

    Her first response to seeing someone not allowed in her home should have been:


    Problem solved… oh wait, Chicago! That’s right where the criminal is protected and the citizen left without a means of self defense!

    • Jim Hamilton

      hmmm a GlockG20 with only 6 rounds? Mine would have 10 more for the rest of the crew and law or no law in my house I’m the law and yeah I be willing to die for it if you got no warant you ain’t coming in. It wont be me that stops him either but it will be Mossberg and sons Model 530. The End

  • Old Hat

    This is Chicago. Those are cops. They have a decades long history of this. Everyone that has lived here for any length of time knows you don’t ever let the cops know you’re going to be out of town in Chicago.

  • Climp Jones

    Chicago gets what they deserve. Rahm Emanuel is a horse’s ass.

    • Jim Hamilton


  • Mary Wright

    Too bad they did away with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution in Chicago. We are doomed.

  • Mary Wright

    PS. Who said they were fake?

  • Aboli

    Thanks to a failed Public School System. People dont understand their Forth Amendment Rights.
    Where is the search warrant …Officer ?

  • http://wishididntknow.com/2011/11/02/men-pose-as-police-officers-to-rob-homes/ ‘Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?’” she said. “And he said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry, we’re the police,’ and he flashed a badge.”

    […] HomesNovember 2, 2011 // nRelate.domain = "wishididntknow.com"; // wpa2a.script_load(); TweetShare(CBS Chicago) – A frightening warning has been issued on the city’s Northwest Side, about men who have been […]

  • acrossthe street

    Dirty Cops… who would ever believe that ? !

  • http://justmeasurescs.com/?p=435 Just Measures Coin Shop - TODAY’S HEADLINES 11/03/2011

    […] Fake Cops Targeting Houses On Northwest Side-video […]

  • Jim Hamilton

    Chicago is turning into one huge cesspool of criminals put a fence around it and take away their right to vote.
    By the way.
    Hi there Chicago it’s me from down state illinois. Hows the anti gun laws working out for ya. When will you idiots up there wake up and see your anti carry laws only dis arm the law abiding guys and keep the bad guys with their guns safer?



    Like hell take my family to Chicago for family fun. Getting them all killed in a drive up like so many others I read about doesn’t sound like fun to me oh yeah and in Chicago the criminals carry guns but I can’t hahaha NO THANK YOU CHICAGO!

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