Chicago, IL – The Chicago Police Department (CPD) has opened an investigation to determine whether a city alderman filed a false police report in January.
Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno, who is running to be re-elected later this month, reported his 2016 Audi as stolen on Jan. 4, WGN reported.
He told Chicago P.D. he last saw his car in the 1300-block of North Leaveitt, according to WBBM.
On Sunday, Chicago police spotted Moreno’s vehicle and pulled over the driver, who was later identified as 35-year-old Liliya Hrabar.
The officers were unable to prove that Hrabar was the individual who allegedly stole the alderman’s vehicle, so she was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass instead of felony vehicle theft, WBBM reported.
Hrabar said she was shocked to learn that Moreno reported the vehicle as stolen, and claimed that Moreno had willingly loaned it to her and never asked for her to return it to him.
Moreno claimed that he and Hrabar dated in the past, and called the entire situation a “misunderstanding,” WGN reported.
“It was a miscommunication with a person that I dated and… is a friend of mine,” he said. “There was a misunderstanding that she had it for longer than she wanted to and I had a hard time getting ahold of her so that was the only reason that I needed to [report it as stolen].”
“The car is not crashed. The car is in perfect condition,” Moreno told WBBM. “She’s a friend of mine. We dated for a while. She’s a single mom. I was trying to help out. She was down on her luck and needed a car. That’s end of conversation.”
According to text messages provided by Hrabar, Moreno was the one who told her to come get his vehicle the day before he reported it as stolen, WGN reported.
They continued to exchange flirtatious messages even after he made the police report, despite Moreno’s claims that he was having a difficult time getting ahold of her to get his car back.
“Just need to get through this election, and then I want you!” one message from Moreno to Hrabar read.
“I can’t stop rumors. There are all kinds of rumors, especially these days,” Moreno told the news outlet. “But I can tell you the truth, and I think that’s what you want from me.”
“There were calls that I wanted to have the car back so I got the car back. She’s fine. She’s a single mom who I’m trying to help out,” he claimed. “You know, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
After her arrest, Hrabar texted Moreno to ask him why he reported the car as stolen, and told him she was in jail, WGN reported.
He messaged her to have the police call him, so he could get the situation sorted out.
“That meant to have the police call me so I could ask them what they put out there,” he said. “What did they, what did they, what did they, you know, put out there?”
Moreno denied having filed a false report with the CPD, then blamed the situation on his political campaign, WBBM reported.
“It’s political season. I get it. You throw everything at the wall and see what sticks,” he said. “This is something that is absolutely, 100 percent false. Absolutely not. I did exactly what I was supposed to do.”
On Tuesday, CPD released a statement confirming that detectives have now turned their attention towards Moreno, WGN reported.
“At this point, the woman has been charged with misdemeanor trespass to a motor vehicle after she was pulled over while driving a vehicle that was reported stolen by the owner. Any questions about the case or charges now have to be directed to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,” the department said. “Based on new information, Chicago police detectives have now opened a false report investigation.”