Editors Note: Not every arrest leads to a conviction. Guilt or innocence is determined by the court system.
An interesting collection of arrests made by the B.P.D. this week; offenses included prostitution, home repair fraud, and theft of lost property.
Note: Christopher M. Digangi, age 48, of the 6300 block of W. 64th Pl. was arrested for an outstanding warrant among other charges. A search of the Cook County Sheriff's website shows a warrant was issued for a Christopher Digangi on May 28, 2013 for the offense of suspended and/or revoked drivers license with a bail amount of $100,000 (see below).
The Burbank Beat Facebook page recently received the following message from a follower:
"I've seen a man (2-3 times) hanging out around 79th & New England at the bus stop.. Sometimes hiding in the bushes.. Peeking out at people when they walk by. I'm not sure what this man is doing, but this is very scary. (I have small children) I've also seen him across the street from my house as well.. Walking back and forth, in circles.. Like he doesn't know what he's doing. White male, between 20-30 yrs old, white shirt, glasses, blonde-ish hair. I've been convinced that the next time I see him, I should dial 911.. But could you PLEASE post something about this so people in my area can keep an eye out and BE CAREFUL!? Thanks much!!"
The Burbank Beat contacted Division Chief Mike Dudlo of the Burbank Police Department with this information. The message writer's instincts were correct, next time they should call 9-1-1. Below is Officer Dudlo's response:
"I would like to inform your followers the importance of calling 911. Most times, people are afraid to “get involved,” but those are the most important times to do so. More times than not; we hear how someone has seen something suspicious or witnessed a crime occur but did not act on calling the police. When people “look out” for others and call 911, officers can respond to investigate further. Sometimes it turns out to be nothing but other times we find out that the suspicious person was “up to no good.” In any case, it is the job of the police to respond and investigate suspicious activity further.
When the public calls 911 on suspicious activity (or witnessing a crime occur), the more information they are able to give the better (i.e. description of subject(s) involved – clothing, height, weight, tattoos, hair color, approx. age). What is it that makes the actions of this person(s) suspicious? What was the last direction of travel? Was there a vehicle involved (give as much detail of the vehicle as possible – license plate, color, 2 or 4 doors, wheels, window tint, make and model)?
I would hope that your follower(s) wouldn’t wait after several times of observing suspicious activity. Sometimes, time is of the essence to investigate suspicious activities and the occurrence of crimes. Your followers also need to know, when calling 911, they can refuse their information and remain anonymous. Many people take this route. Either way, we would be more than happy to answer your calls."
Bottom line - If you see something, say something!
In the morning hours of May 19, 2008, a man forced entry into a Burbank home located in the 6700 block of West 81st Street. Armed with a gun, the man later identified as Tuyen Ngo of Yorkville, IL, locked the home owner and a guest in a powder room while he proceeded to burglarize the residence of cash and jewelry. During the course of the crime, Ngo fired his weapon twice into the floor.
While Ngo was still in the residence, the homeowner was able to escape from the locked room and ran to a neighbor's house. The neighbor immediately dialed 9-1-1 and Burbank police were dispatched to the residence. Police swiftly surrounded the house and the South Suburban Emergency Response Team (SSERT) was activated.
Believing the gunman was barricaded in the home, SSERT units took up positions encircling the dwelling. Recognizing the home directly across the street offered the most favorable vantage point, SSERT officers obtained permission from the homeowner to use the residence as a command post and sniper position. SSERT resources on the scene included personnel from Bedford Park, Bridgeview, Chicago Heights, Country Club Hills, and Oak Lawn along with officers from several other south suburban agencies. Specialized equipment on hand included two armored vehicles and a helicopter.
Deeming the situation as a potential danger to nearby persons, police evacuated approximately a one block radius while local schools were placed on lockdown.
The standoff lasted well into the afternoon. About 3:00 p.m., police detonated smoke grenades to use as cover while units battered in the front door. A phone box was inserted into the home and negotiators used a public address system to urged the gunman to establish communications with law enforcement. Getting no response from the perpetrator, police made entry into the residence about 5:00 p.m. only to discover that the gunman had fled sometime prior to their arrival.
Burbank detectives quickly linked the gunman with another home invasion which occurred in Orland Park a month earlier. In the Orland Park incident, Ngo broke into a home by gaining access through a basement window. Once inside, Ngo found an 11 year-old boy home alone. Ngo locked the boy in a bathroom and took money, jewelry, computers, and a safe before fleeing. A neighbor's security camera captured photos of Ngo and the 11 year-old was able to identify him from a photo lineup.
The subsequent investigation by Burbank and Orland Park detectives pinpointed Ngo as a suspect in a series of robberies that targeted Vietnamese nail salon owners. Ngo was also suspected of crimes in Chicago, Skokie, and Waukesha, WI. Police were able to track Ngo to a home in Yorkville, IL. On August 12, 2008, Burbank, Orland Park, and Yorkville police apprehended Ngo near his home.
In February 2011, Ngo was found guilty of the Burbank home invasion after a jury trial at the Bridgeview Courthouse. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the crimes of Home Invasion, Illegal Discharge of a Firearm, and Aggravated Kidnapping. He stood trial in July of 2012 and was found guilty of Aggravated Kidnapping and Residential Burglary in the Orland Park case. Ngo is currently incarcerated in Stateville Correctional Center, a maximum security prison in Crest Hill, IL. His projected parole date is June 18, 2081.
This video was created by the resident who lived across the street from the home where the crime took place. The police requested permission to use the house as a command post because of the view it offered. The resident granted permission and began taking photos and video inside his home before the police issued an evacuation order of the surrounding area and he was forced to leave.
Editors Note: Not every arrest leads to a conviction. Guilt or innocence is determined by the court system.
Approximately a dozen vehicles were damaged when their tires were slashed during the early morning hours of Saturday, June 8th in the 7700 block of South Central Ave. Burbank Police are actively investing these incidents of criminal damage to property but have few leads.
Division Chief Mike Dudlo stated that police received information that the damage may be retaliation against a gang member who lives in the area. Dudlo asks that any citizen with information regarding these crimes contact the Burbank Police Department at 708-924-7300.
Drivers license infractions top the list in our weekly arrest review for 5/12/2013.
Burbank Police Department weekly arrest report for the week ending May 05, 2013
Today the Burbank Beat revisits the homicide of Burbank resident Donna Meier which occurred in 1987. This crime was featured on the A&E network series Cold Case files. Below you will find a summary of the crime, a transcript of the Cold Case Files episode, a copy of the Burbank police report detailing the interrogation of her husband (obtained from the Cold Case Files website), and a link to a 2003 Chicago Tribune article describing exactly how detectives finally cracked the case in 2003.
Summary of the Murder
Burbank detectives believe they know who murdered Donna Meier in her home in the summer of 1987; her husband John Meier.
Police were summoned to the Meier residence at 5617 W 84th Place, shortly after noon on July 10, 1987. When Burbank police officers arrived they found a gruesome crime scene in the bathroom of the Meier’s home. Donna's lifeless body lay in the bathtub brutally beaten, stabbed, and strangled.
Donna’s husband John told police that as he left for work early that morning around 4:45 a.m., he kissed his sleeping wife goodbye and she groggily mumbled a goodbye back. In a statement to police, Meier stated that when he returned home about 12:15 p.m. he heard the shower running. When he entered the bathroom he found his wife’s body in the bathtub. Panicked, John ran to a neighbor’s home and had them call the Burbank P.D.
Police swiftly located a bedroom window screen that had been cut near the lock and where an intruder could have entered. John Meier told detectives that cash and jewelry were missing from the residence. Was this a case of a burglary gone bad? Illinois Police investigators didn’t think so. During the early stages of the investigation, seasoned detectives sensed the scene within the house had been staged. They quickly narrowed their focus to the husband, John, the last person to have seen Donna alive.
A few weeks later John Meier met with detectives at the Burbank Police Station (which at the time was located at 7730 S LeClaire, now the Stickney Senior Center) for questioning. There were several inconsistencies in his story. John described his marriage as good and told police that things were going along great, but friends and relatives told a very different story. Meier stated that he had never touched the damaged window screen yet police had lifted a fingerprint belonging to John off that screen. Meier also had a hard time explaining a fingerprint that belonged to him on an injury to Donna’s neck. When detectives presented him with evidence from the Cook County Medical Examiner that indicated Donna had been murdered before 4:00 a.m., Meier could not explain the inconsistency with his previous statement that his wife had been alive when he left for work at 4:45 a.m.
John Meier began to wilt under the intense heat of police questioning. The official police report stated:
“Meier was asked if he killed Donna during an argument. Meier again looked down towards the floor, thought for awhile, began to cry and said he would tell us how it happened if he could see his son first.”
Arrangements were made for Meier’s son to be brought to the police station. Meier visited his son for about 15 minutes but when he returned he did not make good on his promise to tell police what happened that night. When questioning resumed Meier stated “F*** you bastards, my son gave me the strength to get through this” and shortly thereafter requested a lawyer. Detectives had no choice but to terminate the interview. The investigation ground to a halt. Burbank police just did not have enough evidence to charge Meier with the crime.
But when police dug further into Meier’s background, they found his name had been connected with a cold case murder in nearby Hickory Hills, five years earlier. John and Donna Meier had been friends with a woman named Sue Schaaf who had been raped and stabbed to death in her home in December 1982. Meier denied any involvement in Schaaf’s murder as well as his wife’s but detectives disliked the coincidence and could not ignore the similarities of the homicides.
In 1988 detectives submitted Meier’s and another man’s DNA to be compared to semen samples that had been taken from the victim. Once again the investigation was stymied when DNA results failed to produce a match. Again the case went cold.
Years passed but the Hickory Hills detective assigned to the Schaaf case couldn’t get Meier out of his mind. Knowing that DNA testing methodology had vastly improved since 1988, the time of the original test, detectives resubmitted the samples in 2003 for additional analysis. When police received the results, this time they had a match - John Meier.
Police essentially closed the Sue Schaaf case with the positive result obtained from the DNA test linking Meier to the crime, but an arrest was not made. John Meier had died three years earlier in 2000 of natural causes. Donna Meier’s case has never been solved although police still consider her husband John as the prime suspect.
A&E’s Cold Case Files
The murders of Sue Schaaf and Donna Meier were featured on the A&E network series Cold Case Files with Bill Kurtis. The episode entitled “Mistaken for a Killer/A Woman Scorned” was released on July 25, 2004 during the third season of the series. Unfortunately an internet link to a video of this episode could not be located.
Transcript of Cold Case Files "Mistaken for a Killer"
Download the transcript here:
Burbank Police Report
Download the police report here:
Cops close the case on '82 murder - Chicago Tribune, November 25, 2003
The Burbank Police Department posted this status update on their Facebook page this morning:
Two businesses along 87th street were broken into last night and one was an attempt. The offender(s) used a rock to break the front glass to gain entry. No entry was gained at A and J Wholesale (5724 W 87th St) but the offender(s) were able to enter M and M EL Grande Burrito (5730 W 87th St) and Citgo Gas Station (5860 W. 87th St). The Citgo Gas station has been vacant for some time and nothing major was stolen from M and M Burrito. Evidence was recovered at the scenes linking them together. If anyone saw anything suspicious inn that area between midnight and 3 AM please contact the Burbank Police Detective Division.
If you are interested in sharing a tip with the Burbank Police Department's Detective Division, call 708-924-7300. Any information you provide will be kept confidential.