Rosemont cop charged in armed robberies suspended without pay

  • Edward J. Karas

    Edward J. Karas

  • The Rosemont board of public safety commissioners held its first hearing Wednesday to consider the termination of Sgt. Edward Karas, as recommended by Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III, seated far right.

      The Rosemont board of public safety commissioners held its first hearing Wednesday to consider the termination of Sgt. Edward Karas, as recommended by Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III, seated far right. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 

A Rosemont cop charged with armed robbery was suspended without pay Wednesday by the village panel considering firing him from the public safety department.

The board of public safety commissioners approved the request of Superintendent Donald E. Stephens III to suspend Sgt. Edward Karas, who was making $112,527 a year as a 13-year veteran of the force.

Karas, 40, of Rosemont, has been on unpaid leave since being charged Sept. 13 in the armed robbery of gas stations in Norridge and Park Ridge.

Before that, Karas was on paid administrative leave after an internal investigation was launched in June to probe allegations he let more than a dozen people, including a felon, into an Allstate Arena show without tickets or a security check.

The suspension lasts at least until the next commission meeting, scheduled for Oct. 26, when commissioners will consider motions filed by attorneys for Karas and Stephens. An evidentiary hearing before the panel is set for Nov. 1.

During the initial hearing at village hall Wednesday morning, John Murphey, the village attorney representing Stephens, argued Karas deserved suspension in light of the serious charges against him.

"Regardless of the outcomes of any of the cases, he is damaged goods at this point," Murphey said. "There is no way this department could put him on the street in light of the gravity of the charges."

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Karas is accused of robbing an Exxon station in Norridge and a Shell station in Park Ridge on Sept. 12. Authorities say he served as the getaway driver for Wright O'Laughlin, 48, of Chicago, who also is charged.

Stephens is hoping to amend his initial complaint against Karas to specifically include misconduct charges related to the armed robberies.

According to Stephens' written complaint, Karas "betrayed the trust of the department" by showing a fraudulent Rosemont police star badge and an expired department ID card to the Norridge officers arresting him Sept. 12. Karas did the same during a traffic stop the same day for driving erratically, Stephens wrote.

The chief also is seeking Karas' firing for his interactions with a felon referred to as "John Doe." The man was among those Karas let into a June 9 Allstate Arena show past ticket takers and security, according to the written complaint.

On Wednesday, commission member Pat Nagle recused himself from the hearing, citing a conflict of interest because he is executive director of the village-owned stadium.

Karas, currently free on bail, and his attorney weren't at Wednesday's hearing but have the right to attend future hearings, present witnesses and submit written statements.

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