A man claiming to be a former police officer received citations while his passenger was arrested for retail theft, on May 9th, after the police spotted the car at the Oak Lawn Walgreen’s on 95th Street and later stopped the duo at the Evergreen Park Walgreen’s store.
The driver, Timothy Myers, told the police he was a former police officer for 15 years during a stop that uncovered Starbuck’s Coffee drinks, allegedly stolen from Walgreen’s and men’s and women’s clothing from various stores, allegedly stolen from the Chicago Ridge Mall.
The police had previously received “a critical reach”, which is an alert sent to police departments. The critical reach had involved the front seat passenger, Michael Swienconek, who when questioned provided a different name to the officer.
The police noticed the car circling the Walgreen’s lot and leave the premises onto 95th Street. The officer followed the car and claimed to have witnessed Swienconek leaning forward in his seat and throwing unknown items in the back seat of the car.
Myers drove the vehicle but allegedly made several lane changes without signaling and allowed Swienconek to sit in the passenger seat without a seatbelt.
When the officer approached the passenger door, the duo had to open the door because the window would not roll down. The officer reported that Swienconek attempted to step out of the car several times and had to be told to keep his feet in the vehicle, as if the car was a ride at Great America.
While Swienconek didn’t have any identification, he provided the police the name of Michael A. Johnson, which now will be listed as an alias. He assured the officer that he had never been arrested before and although he is 36 years old, he claimed that he was never issued a driver’s license or state identification card.
Eventually Swienconek told the officer his correct name. As he was escorted from the car, the officer said he found a wire cutting pliers. Swienconek told the police he was on parole for a previous retail theft. He also had an outstanding warrant for retail theft from Indiana.
Swienconek told the police he had stolen two Starbucks coffee energy drinks from the Oak Lawn Walgreen’s and threw them in a brown bag in the backseat.
Myers allowed the police to search the vehicle and the police found the energy drinks as well as clothing with tags still attached and dog and pet products. Clothing from stores such as Old Navy, Express, American eagle and Banana Republic was recovered from the car.
Myers said that he had parked in the Chicago Ridge Mall parking lot earlier in the day and Swienconek went inside for over an hour. When he returned, Myers said, Swienconek placed items in the truck. Myers denied knowing that anything was stolen including a blue American Eagle hooded sweatshirt he was provided by Swienconek that the police though appeared to be new. Myers said Swienconek gave him the sweatshirt a few days ago. A package of Under Armour socks with a price tag attached was found in the driver’s door map pouch. Myers denied knowledge of the thefts and said he was a former police officer.
Myers, a 51 year old white male from Harvey, did have a cool police style utility belt with two flashlights and a utility knife in the car. he also had two pairs of handcuffs. Myers was issued a traffic citation for improper lane usage and a compliance ticket for $600 for “vehicle used with illegal activities”.
Swienconek, a 36 year old white male, from Blue Island, was transported to Christ Hospital complaining of chest pains. He was charged with retail theft, obstruction of identification and a seatbelt citation.
The critical reach alert on Swienconek alleged that he was stopped in a vehicle last year that contained a lot of stolen merchandise and proceeds from residential burglaries. He was also suspected in thefts from 15 Kohl’s stores in Indiana and Illinois according to the alert.
The Indiana State Department of Corrections lists a Michael Swienconek, with the same birth date, as having been convicted four times and sentenced to various prison terms. The convictions included auto theft, receiving stolen auto parts, false reporting or informing, and resisting law enforcement. At this time it is unknown if it is the same individual.