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County drops Harvey gun theft probe
21 WEAPONS LIFTED | Sheriff cites interference from local cops

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Chicago Sun-Times
by Frank Main

Four hours into an investigation of the theft of more than 20 guns from the Harvey Police Department, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart pulled the plug.

Dart, who agreed earlier in the day to investigate, sent a team of detectives, gang officers and others to look into the reported theft, which Harvey officials said they discovered Monday morning.

But Tuesday night, Dart canceled the sheriff's investigation because they were unable to conduct a probe "free of influence by Harvey police," said Dart spokesman Steve Patterson.

Sandra Alvarado, a Harvey spokeswoman, responded: "In no way did the Harvey Police Department attempt to hinder this investigation."

Acting Harvey Police Chief Denard Eaves originally sought the sheriff's investigation.

In recent years, the sheriff's department has had a rocky relationship with the Harvey police.

The Harvey Police Department has come under scrutiny in recent years for its handling of murder investigations and for corruption convictions involving its officers. A 2007 raid on the department by the sheriff's office and other agencies uncovered untested evidence, which was then processed, leading to murder and rape charges.

"The citizens of Harvey deserve better," then-First Assistant State's Attorney Bob Milan said at the time of the raid.

On Monday morning, Harvey police responded to a burglary at the range, Alvarado said.

Harvey police told the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that 21 weapons were stolen from a trailer near the range, said ATF spokesman Tom Ahern. The weapons included MP5 submachine-guns and AR-15 assault rifles, sources said.

The range is near 153rd and Campbell, about half a mile west of the police department's headquarters at 15301 S. Dixie Hwy.



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