‘Training Day’ in the suburbs
BY FRANK MAIN AND DAN ROZEK Staff Reporters January 22, 2013 7:24PM
John Cichy is one of three Schaumburg police detectives who were ordered held on $750,000 bond on Thursday after prosecutors alleged they were ripping off drug dealers and reselling the heroin and cocaine they stole on the street.
Updated: February 24, 2013 6:29AM
The trap was set.
Investigators planted $20,000 in a west suburban storage unit, rigged up surveillance video and waited for three Schaumburg cops to take the bait last week.
The tactical officers, suspected of stealing from drug dealers, allegedly showed up wearing masks.
As expected, they looted the storage unit, unaware the drug dealer they were ripping off didn’t really exist, prosecutors said.
Then, Officers John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien did something that left investigators puzzled: they returned a few minutes later to put the money back in the storage unit, law enforcement sources said.
It turns out the investigators weren’t witnessing a change of heart — but sheer greed, the sources said.
The officers, whose cell-phone conversations were being secretly recorded, were upset they didn’t also find up to 30 pounds of marijuana in the storage unit, the sources said.
They decided to put the money back in the storage unit on the chance the drug dealer might return with a load of narcotics they might steal. They didn’t want the dealer to know someone had already been there, the sources said.
But after 15 minutes, the officers changed their minds once again. They returned to the storage unit and stole the money a second time, the sources said, providing new details about last week’s bust.
The officers were arrested Jan. 16 in a parking lot at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg. The money was recovered from the officers, prosecutors said.
“If anyone has ever seen the movie ‘Training Day,’ it shocked me that that’s what we may have been dealing with there,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Chicago, referring to the 2001 film about a corrupt Los Angeles detective.
The officers are being prosecuted in DuPage County. DEA and the DuPage County State’s Attorney’s Office are continuing their investigation, sources said.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, meanwhile, is reviewing at least 30 felony cases in which the officers participated in arrests “to determine if we will be able to proceed with those prosecutions,” said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the office.
The corruption investigation of the officers began earlier this month after a drug dealer was arrested for possession of 10 ounces of cocaine in DuPage County. Once he was arrested, the drug dealer agreed to flip on the officers.
For the last six months, he helped them sell stolen drugs and the officers split the proceeds with him, prosecutors said.
“They were convinced they were never going to get caught,” a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation said of the three officers.