Breaking News Emails
Joseph Gliniewicz, the Fox Lake, Illinois, police lieutenant who killed himself in what authorities called a "carefully staged suicide," tried to have a hit man kill a village administrator who he feared would discover his crimes, investigators said Thursday.
Gliniewicz sent a text message asking a woman to contact a "high ranking gang member to put a hit on the village manager," Lake County sheriff's Detective Chris Covelli told NBC Chicago, confirming an initial report by the Associated Press.
Gliniewicz also suggested that the hit man could "plant something" on Village Administrator Anne Marrin, who was auditing Fox Lake's finances, Covelli said. The audit included the Police Explorers, a youth-focused program, from which authorities say Gliniewicz had been embezzling for seven years.
In addition, small packages of cocaine were found in Gliniewicz's desk, but the cocaine wasn't related to the alleged plot to have the village administrator killed, Covelli said.
"It's very unsettling," Marrin told reporters Thursday. "My concern is my family. It's quite unbelievable and almost surreal."
She said that if Gliniewicz was capable of stealing from a program to help kids, "then it's really no surprise to know he would go to great lengths to conceal his criminal wrongdoing."
Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said Gliniewicz forged signatures on official documents and stole and laundered thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post for personal purchases, mortgages, travel expenses, gym memberships, adult websites and personal loans.
Gliniewicz, 52, killed himself Sept. 1 and staged the scene to look as though he was killed in the line of duty, investigators said. He radioed dispatch that he was pursuing three men, and when backup arrived, officers found him fatally shot.
Authorities said they reviewed 6,500 pages of text messages from Gliniewicz's personal and work phones were reviewed during the investigation. They said Gliniewicz made incriminating statements in messages that were deleted before his suicide.
In a message sent May 13 to someone identified only as "Individual No. 1," Gliniewicz wrote that Marrin "hates me and I've never said more than 3 sentences to her in the year shes been here."
He wrote that Marrin "hates the explorer program and is crawling up my a-- and the program, chief wont sign off to move it to American legion and if she gets ahold of the checking account, im pretty well [expletive]." (Misspellings in original.)
On June 26, he messaged a person identified only as "Individual No. 2": "This situation right here would give her the means to CRUCIFY ME it it were discovered."
Filenko said evidence "strongly indicates criminal activity" by at least two other people, whom he wouldn't identify. Sources close to the investigation told NBC News that Gliniewicz’s wife and son are the targets. No further details were immediately available.
Mayor Donny Schmit asked the community Thursday to wait for the full investigation before jumping to conclusions. But he said it was clear that "the person that I thought I knew for 30 years had another side I wasn't aware of."