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Police Employee Charged With Staging $44,000 'Armed' Robbery

Gary Amato was stabbed in Jan. 18 robbery, but admitted fabricating story that three assailants attacked him.

Initially, Niles Police thought they were investigating an armed robbery. Civilian Niles Police Department employee Gary Amato was en route to make a $44,000 bank deposit in January, and told police three men had threatened him with a gun, stabbed him and robbed him.

On Friday, the Cook County State's Attorney's office said Amato admitted concocting the story and took the money himself. Amato did have a stab wound, though spokesman Andy Conklin of the State's Attorney's Office stopped short of saying Amato stabbed himself. 

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Amato was charged with theft of government property, a Class 2 felony; official misconduct, a Class 3 felony; and workmen's compensation fraud, a Class 4 felony, according to Conklin.  He could face up to seven years in prison. 

In the scope of Amato's duties as a civilian police department employee, he sometimes took Village of Niles money to the bank to be deposited. On the morning of Jan. 18, Conklin said, Amato volunteered to take the deposits, about $4,000 in cash and $40,000 in checks, to PNC Bank at 9101 Greenwood.

, Amato, who was driving an unmarked black village vehicle and wearing a police operations uniform, said he was attacked by three Hispanics men about a block before he arrived at the bank. He said they pepper-sprayed him, threatened him with a gun, stabbed him in the shoulder and took the bank deposit bags with the cash and checks inside.  

The incident took place at the intersection of Davis and Grace streets, just south of Golf Mill Park, which is just south of Golf Mill Shopping Center. 

Police arrived on the scene that day to find Amato wounded and blood on the snowy ground. 

Conklin said Friday that evidence gathered by law enforcement substantiated that Amato staged a fictional event to steal money from the village of Niles, to establish a worker's compensation condition and establish permanent disability. 

"Physical, circumstantial, testimonial and surveillance video evidence established that he concocted the story," Conklin said.

Amato admitted to investigators that he had lied about the being attacked by the three men, and he admitted disposing of the bank bags, Conklin said.

Amato's next court appearance will be Aug. 16 in the Skokie branch of the Cook County courts.

Niles Police Chief Dean Strzelecki was not available for comment Friday afternoon. 

Patch will update the story as more information becomes available. 

 

 

Steven July 17, 2011 at 07:00 PM
This employee could have been previously terminated on several occasions over his illustrious career, more recently over his theft of payroll hours (Freedom of Information Act- Look up how much and what else he stole over the years from the Village, or maybe look into all his insurance claims...fraud is theft as well.) His lack of ethics has been exhibited countless times, and yet remained employed. Chief Strzlecki didn't fire him all the other times, maybe there's a 3+ strike rule for the Chief's friends.
CNG July 17, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Or maybe the Nickadimus wouldn't let the Chief fire him. Yeah! Yeah! Jocko tried so hard too! Yeah. Yeah.
Clark Kent July 18, 2011 at 01:41 AM
I have never personally heard any of the things you claim in the posting. If true, they are quite disturbing. I neither favor ignoring nor protecting criminal behavior in our public institutions. If you have such information, I presume you will turn it over to the State's Attorney Office for investigation. It is you duty as a concerned citizen to do so. I will watch Niles Patch closely for a coming articles telling the results of your disclosures to the proper authorities. http://www.statesattorney.org/index2/specialprosecutions.html
Steven July 18, 2011 at 02:25 AM
The responsibilty for not tolerating criminal behavior from their employees belongs to the administrators of these employees. The CRIMINAL employees Niles Police retained for decades are a direct reflection of a corrupt and morally bankrupt administration, that fails to do anything but focus on their own personal agenda and gain. The Village Board wants "ethics" ... it's pretty clear where they should start.
Clark Kent July 18, 2011 at 05:28 PM
And if the administrators fail to take action when they know something is corrupt, and they don't, then it is the responsibility of the citizen to step up to the plate and expose both the corruption and the "cover-up." If you have such information, I presume you will turn it over to the State's Attorney Office for investigation. It is you duty as a concerned citizen to do so especially now since you have told us you have special knowledge of the situation. Go for it! I will watch Niles Patch closely for coming articles telling the results of your disclosures to the proper authorities. http://www.statesattorney.org/index2/specialprosecutions.html

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