Monday, August 6, 2007

Police Study Curry Case for Tie to Earlier Attack

July 31, 2007
Police Study Curry Case for Tie to Earlier Attack

BURR RIDGE, Ill., July 30 — When Eddy Curry was robbed at gunpoint in his home outside Chicago, it was only the latest instance of violence involving a member of the Knicks or a prominent N.B.A. player.

Curry, the Knicks’ standout center, and three family members were in his mansion here, along with one employee, on Saturday at about 12:15 a.m. The police said three masked intruders bound the 6-foot-11, 285-pound Curry and the others. They held them at gunpoint, ransacked the home and then fled with thousands of dollars in cash and jewelry.

The robbery came two weeks after Antoine Walker, a Chicago native and Miami Heat star, had his multimillion-dollar home in the upscale Gold Coast neighborhood of downtown Chicago burglarized in broad daylight, in similar fashion.

Knicks guard Quentin Richardson has had two brothers murdered in Chicago, his hometown. Most recently, in 2005, his brother Lee Jr. was shot and killed in a failed mugging attempt as he was walking on Chicago’s South Side with Richardson’s father, Lee Sr., in front of the Richardson home. The attack took place on a side of town long known for criminal activity and violence.

In the cases of Curry and Walker, the attackers were masked men who used tape to bind the players and others. The police said that in both cases the intruders got past security measures and hid inside the home.

Local authorities say there may be a connection, but no arrests have been made. In both cases, the police have been able to get an idea of the assailants through video surveillance cameras but have not been able to release a clear composite of any of the intruders.

“It’s too early to say that he was specifically targeted,” Burr Ridge police corporal Tim Vaclav said of Curry, 24. “Our detectives just haven’t gotten that far in confirming any type of connection. Right now it’s really just a local investigation, and we hope to develop this to the point where can be working with other agencies.”

Vaclav said, however, that N.B.A. security had been notified.

Telephone messages left at Curry’s home were not returned, and Curry’s agent, Leon Rose, was traveling outside the country and unavailable for comment.

Burr Ridge is a stately southwest suburb of Chicago, and Curry’s home sits in a lush corner of a winding cul-de-sac. The home has brown bricks surrounding a beige center section, and a roofline that reaches nearly 40 feet high, taller than some of the surrounding trees. Five chimneys dot the top of the home, protruding from different sections of steep roofing.

Mayor Gary Grasso of Burr Ridge said that most residents were not alarmed, assuming that N.B.A. players seem to have been the target in each incident.

Vaclav said: “Well, sure some neighbors are concerned, but he’s just a prominent individual. It could, and does, happen to anyone.”

Patrols by the police have been constant in Curry’s neighborhood since the attack.

Grasso — who said this was the first incident of this type he could recall in the suburb, which is home to several pro athletes — met with Curry and his wife after the assault.

He said neither mentioned plans to move from the area.

Jonathan Supranowitz, the Knicks’ vice president for media relations, said, “He was still home in Chicago as of yesterday.”

Walker, however, moved from his home days after he was victimized.

Chicago city police representatives have said they maintain interest in the Curry case, for any possible connections.

The Knicks have several ties with the city of Chicago. Curry was a star at Thornwood High School in South Holland, Ill., right outside Chicago. He was selected No. 4 over all in the 2001 draft by the Bulls.

Richardson was a star at Whitney Young High on the South Side of Chicago before attending DePaul University, which maintains a campus on the city’s North Side. His family still resides on the city’s South Side. Wilson Chandler, the Knicks’ first-round draft pick this year, also attended DePaul.

Also, Isiah Thomas, the Knicks’ coach and team president, was a high school all-American for St. Joseph’s High in Westchester, on the city’s West Side.

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