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updated: 12/19/2013 10:08 PM

Cops: Elgin Moose Lodge helped fugitive

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The Elgin Moose Lodge will appear before the city's liquor commission in January to answer questions about its members helping a fellow member evade police in September.

Elgin police said they arrested lodge member Anthony J. Oswald, 39, of the 700 block of Diane Lane, on Sept. 27 after getting a tip he was at the lodge at 925 S. McLean Blvd. Oswald had an arrest warrant from Chicago for possession of a controlled substance.

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Police went to the lodge in response to the tip and to conduct a liquor license compliance check, the police report stated.

However, lodge members helped Oswald leave out the back door and lied to police about his whereabouts, the report stated.

Police asked to view the lodge surveillance cameras' footage, which showed Oswald in the kitchen and then running out after another member approached him.

Police arrested Oswald that same evening, after lodge members persuaded him to return.

Representatives from the lodge declined to comment Thursday.

Lodge Governor Richard Henson has been suspended, said Elgin Mayor David Kaptain, who's also a member of the 1,400-member lodge.

Kaptain said he found out about the incident after Elgin police referred it to the city's liquor commission for a possible license violation.

He spoke with lodge representatives a few weeks after the incident, when they had already suspended Henson, he said.

"I told them, 'This is serious stuff.' I wasn't happy," Kaptain said.

Lodge members acknowledged the incident "was pretty stupid," he said.

Oswald will be suspended if he's convicted, Kaptain said. Lodge members also contacted Moose International for guidance, he said.

The liquor commission comprises all nine city council members. Councilwoman Tish Powell said she wanted the Elgin Moose Lodge to appear before the commission.

"When other liquor establishments have had issues come up at their properties, we've brought them before the liquor commission. In some cases they were fined, in some cases they were not," she said.

"Typically, there would have to be several incidents over a period of time before we'd revoke their liquor license. That's certainly not my goal in this matter."

Powell said she was surprised no lodge members were charged by police. Obstruction of justice is a felony.

Elgin Police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea said it's common for people to deny knowing where fugitives are located, and it's up to the officers whether to charge anyone. "(The lodge members) brought the guy back, so (the officers) just used their discretion."

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