WICKER PARK — Crocodile Lounge, a Wicker Park bar and dance club that re-opened this week, abruptly shut Thursday night in a mysterious development that included police on the scene.
On Wednesday, in an interview with DNAinfo, a bartender who identified himself as Ian Baker said he had taken over running the club at 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave. because its owner Radek Hawryszcuk was "indisposed."
In the story about the re-opening of Crocodile that ran Thursday, DNAinfo reported that Crocodile's state business license was listed as "not good standing." City records show the bar doesn't have a liquor license, officials say, but does have permission to sell food.
Around 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Shakespeare District Police officers were seen in the doorway of the bar talking to a group of men who said they were business partners, friends and music promoters connected to Hawryszcuk.
"I don't know who you all are, please leave the premises," one of the officers told the group. A reporter was also told to leave.
Officer Jose Estrada, a Chicago Police spokesman, said that police were called to the bar on a report of two men trespassing. Estrada said no arrests were made.
Baker appears to actually be 29-year-old Christian DeBoer and has become the subject of an online effort to expose him. DeBoer could not be reached for comment.
After Thursday's report featuring DeBoer surfaced, local business owners alerted DNAinfo to the online campaign. He is accused of skipping out on a bar tab at Floyd's in Bucktown by owner Tony Glanz, and stiffing a Wicker Park tattoo artist who says he failed to pay her for a tattoo she gave DeBoer on Jan. 19.
Brooke Englehart, a tattoo artist at Tatu Tattoo, 1745 W. North Ave., filed a police report after she said she inked a straight razor with splattered blood on DeBoer's left forearm and he went to the ATM to grab cash to pay for it — and never came back.
Officer Nicole Trainor, a Chicago Police spokeswoman, confirmed that a man had "received services" at the tattoo parlor around 3 p.m. on Jan. 19 and had not paid. Trainor said she cannot confirm that the man who allegedly did not pay for the tattoo is Christian DeBoer.
DeBoer's distinctive tattoo is visible in an Instagram video included in the DNAinfo report.
Last week, DeBoer wrote to Englehart, "I apologize for upset- A bill had been directly taken out of my account without permission and I was unable to pay the $150 as per our agreement," according to a text message provided by Englehart.
DeBoer has been arrested more than a half dozen times in Florida, online arrest records show. A warrant for a drunk driving arrest there shows the same Kildare Avenue address he listed on a Tatu Tattoo form.
City records show Crocodile's liquor license expired on Nov. 15, 2016. Crocodile, which was open through December and for New Year's Eve, last promoted a music night on Jan. 16.
The business does have a license to sell food. On Jan. 17, the bar got a renewal through Nov. 15, 2018 for "retail sales of perishable food" license, according to city records.
The tattoo inked on DeBoer on Jan. 19 and still unpaid. [Courtesy of Brooke Englehart]