News pickup: Orange Line robbers charged; CTA, unions unite on "Build Chicago" initiative

These alleged Orange Line robbers have been charged. Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

These alleged Orange Line robbers have been charged. Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

Two men suspected of armed robbery on an Orange Line train last week have been charged in the case after their surveillance photos were blasted across the Internet.

Police charged Michael Taylor with four counts of armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The other alleged robber was not named, but also has been charged. According to the Tribune:

Both men fled the area because of the media attention on the case but were later located in Gary and Rockford, McCarthy said during the press conference held after an event at the Chicago Police Memorial at Gold Star Park.

The Gary suspect will be extradiated and he was arrested on a warrant, McCarthy said. "He's not going anywhere,'' McCarthy said. "So that case is coming to fruition and about to be closed.''

Nice job, Chicago police.

CTA, unions unite on "Build Chicago" initiative. The CTA announced last week that in its solicitation for new bids on the 7000 Series rail cars, it will ask bidders to articulate the number and kinds of new jobs the manufacturing process will create.

"Our goal is to help create as many U.S. job opportunities as possible, and to encourage local opportunities wherever possible," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "Additionally, we believe this will increase competition among bidders and result in the best prices and highest quality product for CTA customers, essential in building a world-class transit system."

The CTA joined with the Chicago Federation of Labor to launch what it's calling the "Build Chicago" initiative. Though honestly, I don't see any of this manufacturing being done in Chicago. But keeping the jobs in the United States is a good thing too.

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    So glad they got those guys. Sends a message to all the other would-be robbers not to use the CTA as a hunting ground.

  • In reply to Kenneth Byrd:

    Eh. I don't know about all that but it's good they caught them. It won't deter future robbers, unfortunately.

  • In reply to Phillip9:

    At best, it would help the would be robbers to not be as stupid as these guys. Wear a mask, hat, off clothing than you normally wear, etc.

  • In reply to Phillip9:

    1. Some news reports were that they hightailed it to Rockford and N.W. Indiana because their mugs were all over the TV and the heat was on. Also, apparently someone recognized them in those places or told the police they were going there. If that doesn't deter future perps, they would be dumber than these.*

    2. I noted earlier that since all stations have cameras, trying to go through a turnstile would elicit an immediate police response. Note that the pictures on TV were in the stations.

    *After the 2 bus shootings caught on camera, I haven't heard of many others. On the other hand, TCF Bank still seems an easy mark, even though all those robbers are on camera, so maybe they'll try there.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not buying your "immediate police response". I see more and more folks wearing surgical masks in public, either to filter out air pollution, or because they believe it will help prevent transmission of disease. In any case, the police are not going to rush to an L stop simply because someone is wearing a mask. Heck, how many people wear scarfs in the winter?

    On top of that, I highly doubt the video feeds are being monitored in real time. The video may be handy after the fact, but we're not quite at the point where every suspicious person is going to be flagged in real time.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    A surgical mask doesn't cover the eyes and ears; one of the things that was on some of the newscasts wast that there were arrows pointing at ear studs, for instance.

    Besides the question whether a CA wouldn't notice someone going through the turnstile wearing a ski mask when the temperature is 86 degrees, the station cameras are supposed to be connected to the 911 center. London uses recognition software, and there was some talk about Chicago getting it.

    Besides that, you'll be surprised how fast police response is (I was involved in an incident yesterday, related to a companion's health, and in the suburbs, but the police was out in full force in seconds). I don't know how quickly Garry McCarthy can get out the manpower, but you would be surprised.

  • In reply to jack:

    The TCF Bank in the Jewel at 5516 Clark seems to get robbed about once a month.
    That's got to be a record for the same bank getting robbed repeatedly.
    At least I've never been in it when it was robbed, but did go there about 30 minutes after one of the robberies.

  • In reply to Phillip9:

    How do you know? Try to think positive about this. The cameras are helping.

  • So I guess the "dumber" choice of last week won out. Again, the pictures shown on TV after they were arrested seemed more distinct than the ones before.

    On the procurement front, it isn't so much U.S. as there is the Buy America Act, and Bombardier does most of the fabrication in Plattsburgh, NY. I'm sure the issue is that Quinn wanted the job steered to Sumitomo in Rochelle, IL. Maybe if someone could actually get a carmaker to set up a factor in Pullman?

  • CTA just awarded a $204,000 contract to a Sri Lankan-born artist based in London for art for the Wilson Station. Unlike rail car manufacturing, there are actually many artists in Chicago capable of providing art for CTA stations. Perhaps you can ask CTA or the Mayor why the statement "Our goal is to help create as many U.S. job opportunities as possible, and to encourage local opportunities wherever possible" doesn't apply to working artists.

  • In reply to josephm:

    Very good point Joseph.

  • I'm curious to know how putting a requirement for the bids to come from US based factories increases competition.

  • In reply to chris:

    The issue basically is that there isn't any U.S. based rail car company. The only thing a bidder can try to do is get some foreigner to set up a U.S. assembly plant, such as Bombardier in Plattsburgh, N.Y., Sumitomo in Rochelle, Illinois. etc.Alstom is in Hornell N.Y., but apparently isn't competitive (they were outbid on the 5000s, and there were stories posted that they were outbid on BART).

    Similar things were done with bus procurement. Orion (now out of business) set up in NY, not only because it was near their Ontario headquarters, but also because NY MTA had a preference for NY jobs. New Flyer (based in Winnipeg), set up a California "completion" and service facility, because that apparently was a condition of getting an LACMTD contract.

    Some have posted on other boards that the risk taken in this is that SEPTA and MBTA had problems with defects in Korean cars assembled in Brooklyn.

    But the last that any rail cars were by U.S. companies was when Pullman-Standard, Budd, and Morrison Knudsen folded.

    I previously noted that the competition was only relevant to the compatibility issue, i.e. did Sumitomo and Kawasaki tell CTA that they couldn't provide a competitive bid because they would have to license stuff like software from Bombardier?

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