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Man in Crocodile Club Controversy Arrested As Bar Reopens With New License

By Alisa Hauser | February 13, 2017 10:55am
 Police were at Crocodile early Sunday and arrested a man, witnesses said.
Police were at Crocodile early Sunday and arrested a man, witnesses said.
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WICKER PARK — A man who mysteriously reopened the Crocodile bar for one night and then disappeared, unleashing accusations against him from neighborhood businesses about unpaid bills, again turned up at the club Saturday.

Christian Brock DeBoer was promptly arrested and charged with trespassing after the owner of Crocodile called police, officials said.

The arrest was the latest in a serious of odd events connected to the Crocodile, which had been closed for a month before DeBoer suddenly reopened it using a fictitious name and telling a DNAinfo reporter he was acting on behalf of the club's owner.

On Saturday, Crocodile, 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave., reopened with a new tavern license to replace its expired liquor license and a last-minute Facebook solicitation for bartenders and security to staff the Wicker Park club.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, DeBoer, of the 100 block of West Oak Street, was arrested for trespassing, according to Officer Michael Carroll, a Chicago Police spokesman. The 29-year-old DeBoer was released on a personal recognizance bond on the misdemeanor charge, Carroll said.

Carroll said DeBoer was arrested after Crocodile's owner, Radek Hawryszczuk, contacted police and told them that DeBoer was asked to leave the business but refused.

Hawryszczuk did not return requests for comment.

But DeBoer, reached early Monday, told DNAinfo that he had had "a falling out with [Hawryszczuk] over unpaid wages" and that Hawryszczuk had invited him back to the bar to discuss the repayment on Saturday night.

"I went downstairs [in the bar's basement] and he had two police officers waiting for me," DeBoer said.

Local business owners have started a Facebook page warning the public about DeBoer. He is accused of skipping out on a bar tab at Floyd's in Bucktown by owner Tony Glanz, stiffing a Wicker Park tattoo artist who says he failed to pay her for a tattoo she gave DeBoer on Jan. 19, and not paying for a haircut at Fringe Salon.

DeBoer acknowledged the debts and said he was in the process of getting to the bank and planned to pay for the $25 haircut first.

On Saturday afternoon ahead of the club's reopening, Hawryszczuk used Facebook to solicit workers to staff the bar. "If you don't know how to bartend just say hey I'm going to learn and we also thinking on servers (Barbacks and Security)," Hawryszczuk posted.

Issued by the city's Liquor Commission on Feb. 10, the new tavern license replaced the bar's incidental liquor license, which expired on Nov. 15. Crocodile opened in 2008; its previous incidental liquor license was reserved for restaurants in which primary sales come from food rather than alcohol.

The city requires any establishment that has alcohol sales as its main source of business have a tavern license.

DeBoer was not required to pay any money for his release; only his signature was required. DeBoer is scheduled to appear in Cook County Court-Branch 23 on March 21 for the misdemeanor charge. 

Over this past summer, a 31-year-old man was wounded in a stabbing outside the bar. In Sept. 2015, another man was beaten after allegedly "hitting on the wrong woman."  Other late-night fights requiring police attention in 2015 included one in which a beer-bottle throwing couple injured a bystander, and one in which a cleaning mop was used as a weapon.

A Facebook post by Radek Hawryszczuk looking for workers on same night as bar reopens with new tavern license. [Facebook]