HARVEY, Ill. (CBS) — A Harvey man thought calling police to report his stolen car might help get it back.
Instead, he believes a series of mistakes by that police department allowed thieves to get away with his car – twice.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday night, it all raises questions about police response in that south suburb.
“Luckily, me and my father – when we got outside, they were already gone,” said the victim, Victor, “because they were actually – they all had weapons on them.”
And Ring security video shows that at least one person in the group had a gun as they were caught casing a Harvey house before stealing a Red Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT early this past Friday morning.
The Dodge belongs to Victor, who wanted his identity obscured for safety reasons.
“I was just more shocked,” Victor said.
But the stolen car was not the most frustrating part. Victor said the response by Harvey police was even more aggravating.
He said he had to call 911 twice Friday morning after the first officer drove by his house and as he was standing in the driveway.
When the officer finally came back and took the information, Victor said, “I told him that I had videos of the incident, and he didn’t really care to see the videos.”
The video in question showed the suspects stealing and driving the car away. The officer only left Victor a card.
He said detectives never followed up either, despite their promises they would do so.
And then on Saturday, Victor’s friend called to say he spotted people driving the Dodge in nearby Lansing.
“So then he called 911, and they told him that the car was not reported stolen, so they could not send an official to go see the car,” Victor said.
There was no record of the car being stolen 36 hours after Victor filed his report.
Kozlov also spoke to Victor’s dad, who called the Harvey Police Department to ask why the car was not flagged as stolen in the system. It was not until late Sunday afternoon that a Harvey officer finally called back to say the car was now flagged as stolen – almost three days after it was.
“It makes you question – if you were in real danger, what would your city police really do for you?” Victor said.
Victor and others Kozlov spoke with said there have been a slew SRT modelt-type cars stolen in Harvey over the last week or so. Kozlov tried to confirm that, and asked about the questionable police response, but never heard back from the police chief or Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark – despite repeated attempts to reach them.
The Harvey Police Department has a long history of policing problems. Most recently, the mayor’s handpicked chief was ousted after just eight months on the job.
The department was also raided by Illinois State Police a decade ago.
UPDATE 09/02/20 6:16 p.m.
Harvey Mayor Christopher Clark called Kozlov back on Wednesday. He said this story concerned him and he reached out to the police department to find out what happened. He learned a dispatcher had failed to put the stolen car information into the system.
Clark said he is also waiting to learn why the officer didn’t look at the video and why detectives had not followed up.
Clark added that he has long had concerns with Harvey’s dispatch system and the way calls have been handled, which is why he asked the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to take over and run dispatch for Harvey. He said the county officially took over dispatch operations for Harvey on Tuesday.
The mayor hopes that will solve some of the longstanding dispatch problems.