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January 30, 2017

Pants on Fire



I was recently made aware of a review posted on the Paramount Arts Center website by a man who attended a show over the weekend. In his post, he gave the Paramount a 1-star review with an editorial about how the theater is in a “really bad neighborhood”. He went on to say that he was mugged walking from the parking lot to the theater. As if that weren’t traumatic enough, he reported that on the way back to his car he was approached by several “blacks” asking for money and harassing him and his companion. He then warns theater-goers to “bring your gun” and gives some sage advice to us: “Clean up your shit, AURORA.”

This gentlemen then took to his personal Facebook page and reiterated what he wrote on the Paramount website.

When I received a phone call from the Mayor’s office inquiring about the mugging that occurred downtown, I scratched my head. Robberies (aka: muggings) are serious incidents and I hadn’t been provided information about this occurrence.

I quickly did a cursory check of serious incidents that were logged and found nothing of the sort. I reached out to the Lieutenant of our Investigations Bureau and oddly enough, he found no report of a robbery that occurred in downtown Aurora. He expanded the grid search beyond the downtown boundaries and still came up empty. He then did a city-wide search and expanded the date-range and found nothing. You get the idea.

It’s been my experience that those who are victims of a robbery call 9-1-1. It is extremely rare that a person will simply shrug their shoulders and decide not to notify the police — especially given that a robbery is a very serious crime. My spidey senses started tingling but I still tried to give the victim the benefit of the doubt.

I asked the Lieutenant to assign this case to a detective. This was met with polite but quiet opposition and I could almost hear the streaming thoughts running through his head:

“You want me to assign a detective to chase down a victim of crime for a report that doesn’t exist?”

Yes. Yes I do. Pull video from cameras in the downtown area. Search for the victim in records. If there was a robbery, we need to know about it so we can formulate an operational response.

The detective went to work and determined the “victim’s” identity through his social media presence and located his residence (which happened to be in a town directly east of us). The detective made contact with a female from that residence who advised that Mr. R____ was not at home but identified herself as his wife.

The detective asked if they enjoyed a show at the Paramount over the weekend. The woman advised that she and her husband did, in fact, attend a Saturday evening show where a Queen cover band was performing (it got excellent reviews by the way!). When the detective pressed about any unusual incidents that occurred while going to and from the show, the woman seemed befuddled. The detective asked point blank if she and her husband were mugged. I’m going to let you take a guess at her answer.

That’s correct. Nope. Nada. The detective shared with her the content of her husband’s posts on social media claiming to be the victim of a robbery and she couldn’t understand why he would say such a thing. The only thing that occurred in her explanation was a car of people who drove down the street and yelled something from within the car that sounded like, “where’s my money”. The woman said the car never stopped or slowed. That does not translate into a robbery.

He made it all up. Why? What is the motivation of someone who fakes being the victim of a robbery. Was it to garner sympathy? Based on his harsh words, I would say it was more likely to bash Aurora.

We have morphed into a reality where being politically correct is slowly becoming a thing of the past. Despite this, I have difficulty straying from the manners instilled in me so I won’t say precisely what I’m thinking. However, I think it’s appropriate to say that Mr. R’s pants are on fire.

He is a fabricator, a fabulist, a fibber, a prevaricator. A spewer of alternate facts.

This incites me because we used resources and manpower to make sure there wasn’t an actual victim of a robbery.

The downtown area is one of the safest places in our city. People enjoy attending shows at RiverEdge Park and the Paramount Theater and we are pretty proud that our once “rough and tumble” reputation has polished up nicely.

We are the 2nd largest city in the State of Illinois with a booming population of over 200,000 people and yet we are still below the national average for crime. We are certainly not without crime issues but neither is any city our size.

We take crime very seriously and we prefer devoting our resources to the thugs out there committing crimes without having to waste time on storytellers who grandstand to amass attention.

Mr. Pants on Fire, I very much appreciate your suggestion that we “clean up our s&*#”. We will continue to fight against those who do harm in our city and I stand with the men and women of the Aurora Police Department who come to work every day to confront those evil-doers.

I also speak on behalf of the fine people who call Aurora home and don’t take kindly to bashing our city with fabrications of grandeur.

So might I politely suggest turning your attention to your own character that is in need of a cleanse.

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