Rosemont cop brought felon into Allstate Arena past security, complaint says

 
 
Updated 10/10/2018 6:24 PM
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  • Edward J. Karas

    Edward J. Karas

A Rosemont cop charged with the armed robbery of two gas stations already was facing disciplinary action for letting more than a dozen people, including a felon, into an Allstate Arena show without tickets or a security check, according to the department's chief.

Sgt. Edward Karas, a 13-year veteran of the Rosemont Public Safety Department, faces termination for violating department rules, including overstepping his authority while off-duty at the June 9 show, according to a six-page written complaint filed by Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III.

Stephens' recommendation to fire Karas will be formally brought to the six-member board of public safety commissioners at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17. The panel, which handles testing and hiring for the village's public safety department, also has the power to dismiss police and firefighters who have served more than two years. Those with less than two years' experience can be dismissed without a hearing.

Karas, 40, of Rosemont, was arrested Sept. 13 and charged with robbing an Exxon station in Norridge and a Shell station in Park Ridge a day earlier. Also charged was Wright O'Laughlin, 48, of Chicago. Park Ridge police say O'Laughlin wore a ski mask, entered the gas stations with a gun and demanded money. Karas, authorities said, is believed to be the getaway driver.

Karas has been on administrative leave since June 11 for the Rosemont internal investigation stemming from the June 9 event at the village-owned arena.

According to Stephens' written complaint, Karas was off duty but in uniform when he brought the unnamed felon -- referred to only as "John Doe" -- and 12 to 13 others into the venue past ticket takers and security.

"This action was reckless and potentially endangered the participants at the event," Stephens wrote.

During an interview with his bosses three days later, Karas downplayed the nature of his relationship with Doe, who has threatened physical violence against Rosemont officers in the past, Stephens wrote.

Karas said he was attempting to further his relationship with Doe, whom he called an acquaintance, as part of a proposed real estate deal, according to the written complaint. But village officials allege Karas and the man had a more extensive relationship.

Karas told his bosses he wouldn't have further contact with the man, though Karas subsequently disclosed confidential details about the interview with police commanders to Doe, Stephens wrote.

A few nights later, Doe came to the police superintendent's house late at night "in an apparent attempt to influence him on behalf of Karas," the complaint says.

While on leave in September, Karas was pulled over in a neighboring town for driving erratically and displayed an unauthorized Rosemont detective star and expired ID card, authorities say. When he was arrested by Norridge police for armed robbery, police also discovered equipment he wasn't supposed to have, including two bulletproof vests, three department vest covers, a police hat, radio, gas mask, baton, Taser, garrison belt and fire house hood, authorities say.

Karas, who was released from jail Oct. 4 after posting bail, is due in court for an arraignment Oct. 15. O'Laughlin, who is still being held in jail, is due in court Oct. 25.

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