Thursday, April 15, 2010

Zabrocki had warned Arab businessmen they have have been targeted

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Many months ago, Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki had warned several high profile American Arabs who live in Tinley Park that they should alert the community that there was police information that Chicago store owners of Arab heritage might be the targets of thieves.

That came true this week when six gunmen broke in to the Tinley Park home of store owner Abbas Darwish. Darwish live son the 9100 block of Basswood drive in a 4,000 square foot mansion. He owns and operates DIA Food & Liquor in Morgan Park on Chicago's South Side.

Zabrocki had said that reports had surfaced that the Arab grocers might be targeted not in their stores, where they often prepare against theft as do most other small grocery store owners, but in their driveways upon return to their homes late at night after work.

There are about 150 small and medium-sized grocery stores owned by American Arabs in the Chicago area, many in the inner city and African American community.

On Wednesday, around 4 am as Darwish and his wife and children were sleeping,t he six suspects broke in to the home and pistol whipped Darwish demanding his money from the store.

Police arrested two of the suspects as helicopters and SWAT teams were brought in to hunt down the heavily armed gunmen. Zabrocki and the Tinley Park Police don't mess around and are tough on crime and protecting their community.

Zabrocki said that Darwish had been targeted and the suspects might have followed him home from his business.

Residents of Tinley Park and School District 135 were alerted to the home invasion early Wednesday morning. District 135 schools were placed in a "soft loack-down" meaning that children remained in classrooms. The manhunt for the four remaining suspects was called off in the early afternoon after police concluded they had fled the area.

-- Ray Hanania

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