A Chicago man who allegedly threatened gay bars and alluded to the mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub was accidentally released from jail this week after an apparent communication breakdown between local agencies. He remains at large as of Thursday afternoon.
Shane Sleeper, 31, was arrested in February after he was named in six separate cases of harassment, according to WMAQ-TV in Chicago. He allegedly threatened a Chicago gay bar by saying "Orlando will come to Chicago," apparently referring to the Pulse shooting that left 49 people dead in a gay club. He was charged with several misdemeanors, including harassment, assault and resisting police.
In court Tuesday, his misdemeanor charges were dismissed but he received upgraded felony charges including making a terrorist threat, harassment through electronics, trespassing, stalking and false impersonation of a police officer, the state’s attorney’s office said. He was ordered held without bail.
But the sheriff's office apparently didn't know about the new charges, only that the prior ones had been dismissed, said Cara Smith, policy chief for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart.
“Preliminarily, it appears that the only cases he was being held on were dismissed and the sheriff’s office was never notified of any additional charges that were brought,’’ Smith told the Chicago Tribune. “We were never notified. Our phones are on 24 hours a day. We complied with the only court order we received."
The state’s attorney’s office said custody of defendants is the sheriff's office responsibility.
"Mr. Sleeper was in custody when the sheriff’s office brought him to court yesterday," spokesman Robert Foley told the Tribune. “He was arraigned in a felony trial courtroom, where he was assigned a no bail status and left in the custody of the sheriff’s office.”
Police are still searching for Sleeper as of Thursday morning. He's described as white, 5-foot-11, and weighing about 185 pounds.
A Twitter page matching Sleeper's name and appearance describes him as an "Experiential Marketing Professional."
Anyone with information on Sleeper's whereabouts is urged to call 911 or the Chicago Police Department at (312) 746-6000.
[Photo: Chicago Police Department]