Un-Lung Heroes: Smokers Are More Vigilant Neighbors

Late-night smokers help police catch criminals

By Matt Bartosik
|  Friday, Oct 23, 2009  |  Updated 12:36 PM CDT
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Smokers get a bad rap, but they may be serving as unsung security watchmen.

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Smoke a fag, bag a bad guy.

According to police reports, at least three criminals were caught this week in the South Loop thanks to smokers, says the Sun-Times.

Huddled outside doorways, bars and on balconies throughout the city, the twitchy nic fiends might be serving as unsung security watchmen.

Example one: a man and woman smoking on the balcony of their South Wabash apartment at 1 a.m. Monday when they witnessed a thief breaking into a car in their private parking lot.

The couple called police and described the suspect. The thief was caught and charged with two counts of felony burglary. Turns out that Lorenzo Wright, 44, had broken into another vehicle in the same lot.

The very next day, at Cermak Rd and Wabash Ave, a man lit up a cigarette outside a fast-food joint. Across the street, he saw Andre Griffin breaking and entering into a closed restaurant.

He, too, called police. Griffin, who had allegedly committed his second break-in of the day, was also charged with two counts of felony burglary.

On Wednesday, yet another wee-hour smoker was involved in a criminal incident, but this time a bit more directly.

At the Walgreens on the 500 block of West Roosevelt, a 49-year-old female employee stepped outside for a smoke break. Derrick King, 47, approached her and asked for a cigarette. When she turned him down however, he began to assault her.

Fortunately, the woman signaled patrolling officers, who took King into custody. He was sentenced to three years in prison for an alleged prior attack.

Three criminals in three days. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, is all smoke and mirrors.

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