Sheriff’s officials confirmed that the Highland Park parade shooter recently prank-called a news reporter from the jail and said the matter has been referred to the state’s attorney’s office.
Robert E. Crimo III, 22, of Highwood, faces 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
He has been held in the Lake County Jail without bond since July 6.
The New York Post reported Saturday that Crimo called one of their reporters from the jail at 8 p.m. (EST) on New Year’s Eve.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to Lake and McHenry County Scanner that the call was made by Crimo, who utilized the inmate telephone system.
The entire call was recorded because it was made from the inmate telephone system, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
When the reporter answered the telephone, they received the standard greeting that the phone call was from a correctional institution in Lake County.
The automated greeting asked the reporter if he would like to continue the call, at which time the reporter accepted the terms, Covelli said.
The reporter then said, “Hello?” and Crimo replied, “Hello.”
The reporter again said, “Hello?” and Crimo responded by asking, “Is your refrigerator running?”
The reporter said, “Uh, yeah…why?” and Crimo said, “Well, you better go catch it.”
Both laughed and Crimo hung up the phone, Covelli said.
The Post said that the reporter had previously tried to schedule an interview with Crimo in December.
The interview was never scheduled but Crimo used that reporter’s number to call them when making the prank call.
The reporter and the New York Post never alerted the sheriff’s office about the telephone call, Covelli said.
“We have the ability to prevent inmates from calling specific telephone numbers, but numbers can only be blocked when we receive an order from the Court or a request from someone specifically,” Covelli said.
A court order is required to completely revoke phone privileges from an inmate.
The call has since been sent to the state’s attorney’s office for their review.
Prosecutors previously said Crimo admitted to “looking down his sights” of his Smith & Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle before opening fire on the crowd on July 4 near Second Street and Central Avenue in Highland Park.
Crimo told investigators he fired two full 30-round magazines before loading a third 30-round magazine and firing, Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Ben Dillon, said.
Seven people were killed and dozens of others were shot. 83 spent shell casings were recovered at the scene.
The seven slain victims include Katherine Goldstein, 64, of Highland Park; Irina McCarthy, 35, of Highland Park; Kevin McCarthy, 37, of Highland Park; Jacquelyn Sundheim, 63, of Highland Park; Stephen Straus, 88, of Highland Park; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, of Morelos, Mexico; and Eduardo Uvaldo, 69, of Waukegan.
Crimo, who was dressed as a woman, exited the roof, dropped the rifle and escaped with the fleeing crowd, police said.
Crimo identified himself on surveillance video and the weapon used, Dillon said.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office has since filed seven counts of reckless conduct causing great bodily harm against Crimo’s father, Robert Crimo Jr.
Prosecutors and Highland Park police officers allege that Crimo Jr. was criminally reckless at the time that he helped his son obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card.
Prosecutors said that helping his son obtain a FOID card was a contributing cause to the harm suffered by the murder victims in the July 4 mass shooting.
The man’s son, Crimo III, was under 21 when he sought to obtain the FOID card and required his father’s participation in the application process.