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Tag: Illinois

FBI: Abduction Suspect Viewed Sexual Fetish Website Before Kidnapping

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

Abduction suspect Brendt Christensen, via LinkedIn.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

About two months before police say he kidnapped a Chinese scholar at the University of Illinois, the 28-year-old suspect appears to have visited the most popular sexual fetish networking site on the internet.

Brendt Allen Christensen was charged in the June 9 abduction of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, who authorities believe is dead. On April 19, federal investigators said Christensen used his phone to visit FetLife.com, a forum that included threads called “Perfect abduction fantasy” and “planning a kidnapping,” CNN reports. 

Christensen, who remains behind bars, is expected in federal court in Urbana on Monday.

FetLife bills itself as “the Social Network for the BDSM, Fetish & Kinky Community” and was created in 2008 by Canadian software developer John Baku. Since then, the site claims to have more than 5 million registered members.

The site dubs itself as a “safe place for kinksters” and is only intended for consensual adults.

According to the FBI, Zhang was kidnapped during the day after she was running late to sign a lease. Authorities believe she agreed to hop in the case with Christensen, a stranger, after missing two buses.

During surveillance, the FBI said Christensen admitted to kidnapping the Chinese scholar.

Congressman Among Activists Handcuffed at Sit-In at ICE Office

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez was among several immigrant advocates briefly handcuffed by federal officials for staging a sit-in at the regional ICE office Monday to protest President Trump’s immigration policies.

The Democrat from Illinois joined other activists at the Chicago office, rallying against increased targeting of undocumented immigrants for deportation, the USA Today reports. 

Federal Protection Service officers gave the protesters three warnings before placing them in handcuffs. But agents had a change of heart and allowed the protest to continue.

“They threatened us with arrest. We said ‘We’re ready to go to jail,'” Gutierrez told reporters after ending the protest. “We stood up to the bullies here…Unfortunately, tonight and tomorrow they will continue to prey on very vulnerable, defenseless people in their homes in the darkness of the night.”

Gutierrez said he was concerned after meeting with ICE officials, who gave incomplete answers about whether raids would be carried out in churches, schools and other sensitive places.

FBI Warned Illinois Republican Party That Its Email System May Have Been Hacked

hacker-istock-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI warned the Illinois Republican Party in June that hackers may have targeted GOP political email accounts.

But party officials said the FBI never mentioned potential links to the investigation of Russia trying to hack America’s political system, the Chicago Triune reports, citing the state GOP’s executive director. 

Nick Klitzing said the party found of its 18 emails on DCLeaks.com, which appears to be connected to a unit controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU.

But the emails in question largely belong to inactive or rarely used accounts andante back to 2015.

Republicans are trying to distance themselves from the hacking controversy after the CIA said there’s substantial evidence that Russia was involved in targeting the emails of the Democratic National Committee.

FBI Investigating Breaches Against Two State Voter Systems

ballot box flintBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is trying to determine who hacked voting registration databases in Illinois and Arizona ahead of the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The FBI discovered breaches in the databases in both states and is urging officials in both states to increase security, Reuters reports. 

Agents are now investigating whether other states also were targeted.

But it’s unclear whether there was an effort to manipulate votes since much of the information is already publicly available.

Still, the FBI has become increasingly concerned about Russian-sponsored hackers who likely targeted the Democratic National Committee and others within the party.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency “routinely advises” on “various cyber threat indicators observed during the course of our investigations.”

New Legislation Aimed at Alerting FBI When Terror Suspect Tries to Buy Gun

Sen. Mark Kirk

Sen. Mark Kirk

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

New legislation is aimed at alerting the FBI when a terror suspect tries to buy a gun.

Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois introduced the legislation in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre.

“Terrorists should not be able to buy weapons and the FBI should be notified if a suspected terrorist buys a weapon,” Kirk said in a statement, 5 NBC Chicago reports. “This commonsense legislation equips the FBI with a new tool to stop threats on American lives.”

The measure would require anyone who has been investigated for potential terrorism ties to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

The FBI uses the NICS when it conducts background checks.

FBI Agent Wounded During Shootout with Man Wanted for Shooting Cop

Dracy Pendelton

Dracy Pendelton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent was wounded Sunday morning following a shootout with a man wanted in connection with injuring a central Illinois police officer.

The unidentified agent was hospitalized with a nonlethal gunshot wound.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Dracy “Clint” Pendleton was wanted for wounding a police officer following a traffic stop on May 7.

Police said a member of the agency’s SWAT team was wounded when authorities approached an abandoned house in the Shawnee National Forest at 5 a.m. Sunday.

A police robot found Pendleton’s body on the second floor. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he shot himself or he was shot by authorities.

Wife of DEA Employee Fatally Shot in Family Car While Driving Home

dea-logoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The wife of a DEA employee was killed by a gunman while she was in her car with her husband and two children.

Tracy Czaczkowski, 44 of Buffalo Grove, Ill., was shot in her neck Sunday afternoon, and the suspected shooter is in police custody, ABC News reports. 

She is the wife of an 11-year DEA employee.

“Tracy is a loving wife of 15 years, mother of two tender age children, daughter and friend,” the DEA said in a statement. “The family is asking for privacy in this difficult time so that they can comfort each other. The family would like to say thank you for the prayers and out pouring of support for Tracy.”

Police said they don’t believe the husband’s employment had anything to do with the shooting, calling it a “random act.”

Illinois Attorney General Asks DOJ to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses in Chicago PD

chicago_police_patchBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is urging the Justice Department to launch a civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department over a number of cases in which cops killed or injured unarmed citizens, the Washington Post reports. 

Protesters are still outraged by a police shooting that killed a 17-year-old last year.

In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Madigan listed several cases in which Chicago police officers shot unarmed citizens over the past few years.

Included in the list is the October 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, who was 17. The officer who pulled the trigger, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with murder last week, the same day a disturbing dash-cam video of the incident was released.

“The McDonald shooting is shocking, and it highlights serious questions about the historic, systemic use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack of accountability for such abuse by CPD,” Madigan wrote.