Rogers Park teen killed in car crash

A 17-year-old girl from West Rogers Park was killed Saturday when she died in a car crash near her home.

Here is the story from Chicago Breaking News:

As Orthodox Christians, Bahara Echmail’s family fled religious persecution in Iraq, arriving to Chicago about five years ago with dreams of a better life.

On Saturday, the family was instead grieving inside their West Rogers Park home after 17-year-old Bahara died in a car crash less than two miles away on her way home from a birthday party.

A 14-year-old sister, Berola, remained hospitalized with a broken hip and other injuries, while a 20-year-old driver was in critical condition, Chicago police said.

“We don’t understand it. God’s will is God’s will,” said Mayda Tamo, a cousin, as people filed in and out of the family’s two-flat.

Both girls were riding with four other friends in a 2003 Ford Explorer SUV when the vehicle reportedly sped through a stop sign shortly after 2 a.m. in the 6700 block of North Artesian Avenue and struck a car westbound on North Shore Avenue, according to police.

The SUV then struck two parked cars before hitting a tree and coming to rest. Bahara was pronounced dead at 3:14 a.m. at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

“They were all just friends from the neighborhood, having a fun night,” Tamo said.

Bahara came to Chicago with her sister and their mother because, as Orthodox Christians, they were subject to persecution in their native Iraq, said Diana Kheyo, another cousin. “They weren’t free to practice their religion there,” Kheyo said.

After a short time in Holland they moved to Chicago, finding presumed safety and familiarity among the large community of Middle Easterners on the city’s North Side, many of them Christians and other Iraqis who have been arriving as refugees by the hundreds in recent years.

“They have been through so much and she was a wonderful girl,” Kheyo said.

The family became involved at the nearby St. George’s Assyrian church. Bahara’s mother married and had a son.
Though pretty and outgoing, Bahara was dedicated to her family, relatives said.

“Bahara was the oldest child,” cousin Neraf Aremya said. “She always wanted to take care of her younger sister and brother; that was pretty much her life.”

In addition to Bahara, Berola and the driver, who police would not identify, the injured included several other passengers. A 17-year-old boy was in guarded condition, a 16-year-old girl was in critical condition, and a 15-year-old girl was also hospitalized in stable condition, police said.

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Police nab teen shoplifting ring on Mag Mile

A teenage shoplifting ring stole more than $5,000 in merchandise this week from stores on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile before being arrested near Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus.

Here is the story from the Chicago Sun-Times:

Five girls and six boys allegedly brazenly grabbed clothes from The North Face at 875 N. Michigan, AX Armani Exchange at 520 N. Michigan and Filene’s Basement at 830 N. Michigan, then fled on foot before they were arrested on the first block of East Pearson Street.

The arrests follow a spate of similar shoplifting incidents over the last two weeks on Michigan Avenue in which large groups of youths use their sheer numbers to overwhelm and confuse store employees, staff at all three stores said.

“More than 15 of them came in the store, and then one of the boy’s shouted ‘Snatch!,’ and all you could hear was hangers being ripped off rails,” said a worker at Filene’s Basement, who asked not to be named because she is not authorized to speak with the press.

As the thieves ran from the store, one yelled out “Meet you on the Red Line!” she said.

At least $280 worth of merchandise was stolen from Filene’s, while goods worth $2,720 were stolen from North Face and $2,247 from Armani Exchange.

The girls, aged between 14 and 16, and the boys, aged between 15 and 17, were arrested within three minutes of each other and were charged as juveniles with retail theft, police said.

Two of the youths were among nine juveniles arrested Sunday after shoplifting incidents at nearby Columbia Sportswear, Guess, Bloomingdale’s, and Victoria’s Secret, according to police.

“It’s a mob, that’s exactly what they are,” Sgt. Sprio Maglaras said. “They are going in and basically grabbing stuff, overwhelming the security and leaving with the sensor on.” Several of the teens used twitter to plan their attacks, he said.

Lt. Joe Schmit added that the gang “acted with such reckless abandon.”

“They just bum-rushed the door, in a herd or a pack. Anybody in their way they ran over.’’

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