Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did Cicero Police Officers Help the Mob Fight the FBI?

Federal authorities are investigating several Cicero police officers for allegedly trying to thwart FBI agents running surveillance on an Outfit associate and high-ranking member of the Outlaws motorcycle gang who ran a pawn shop in town, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Cicero police allegedly ran car license plates, pulled over cars they suspected were driven by federal agents and tried to find hidden surveillance cameras around the business of Mark Polchan, according to recently unsealed court records. Polchan is awaiting trial on charges he bombed a business for the Outfit.

Cicero officers and Polchan also are accused by prosecutors of engaging in sexual acts with prostitutes in Polchan's business, called Goldberg's, which was under video and audio surveillance by federal authorities. Prosecutors brought the matter up to counter Polchan's claim that he is a good family man.

The Cicero police officers under investigation are not named in the court documents.

In one secretly recorded conversation between Polchan and one of the officers in 2007, the officer is quoting telling him, "Alright, I got good news. We ran all the f - - - - - - plates on all the f - - - - - - cars over here. They all came back to f - - - - - - people," meaning not federal agents.

At a court hearing sealed to the public, Assistant U.S. Attorney Markus Funk called the police running the license plates to see if they were federal agents "extraordinary," according to a transcript. Prosecutors had no comment Tuesday.

Cicero Town spokesman Dan Proft said the police superintendent was unaware of the allegations against his officers. The town will review them and likely refer them to the police department's internal affairs division, Proft said.

FBI agents interviewed three Cicero police officers in late summer or early autumn last year to question them because they had known Polchan for years, Proft said, but agents told the police superintendent they were not targets. Polchan apparently has deep ties with the Cicero Police Department, where his father was an officer.

Federal authorities have said more people will be charged in the Polchan case. Prosecutors have alleged Polchan rang a burglary ring out of his shop and did frequent business with the Outfit, including overseeing a 2003 bombing of a Berwyn business that ran afoul of the mob.

Polchan's attorney could not be reached for comment. The documents came to light as Polchan appeals a judge's decision to have him held without bond.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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