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By Devin Rose
Anan Abu-Telab, the owner of Oak Park's Maya del Sol restaurant, on Monday credited police in both Oak Park and Chicago for acting quickly on a text message threat made by a former employee against a current employee.
As a result, Nicholas Claxton, 23, of the Heart of Chicago neighborhood on the near Southwest Side, was arrested Aug. 4 and charged with one count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, one count of cyber stalking and violation of his probation.
He was in court Monday and, according to a Chicago Tribune report, bond was set at $250,000. He is being held at Cook County Jail awaiting a future court date.
"The Oak Park police were great. The Chicago police were great," said Abu-Telab.
Abu-Taleb said that when one of his chefs showed him the text message, which included potentially violent images, that they agreed to contact Oak Park police immediately.
The text message included an image of Claxton holding a shotgun and wearing night vision goggles and a bulletproof vest. He also sent photos of a stash of ammunition and the body armor panels associated with a ballistic vest.
Abu-Telab said Oak Park police took the threat seriously, began an investigation and stepped up police presence in the area near the restaurant at 144 S. Oak Park Ave.
"Once I saw the images I knew we needed to take action. This is not something that can be ignored these days," said Abu-Telab.
Claxton was fired from his job at Maya del Sol on July 23. On July 28, Claxton allegedly sent text messages to a 42-year-old employee showing the armed pictures of himself.
From a previous arrest in the 800 block of West Cullerton Street in Chicago, Oak Park police learned Claxton's address and worked with Chicago police in the 12th District to locate him.
On Aug. 4, Chicago police found Claxton near his home in the 1700 block of West 17th St. and took him into custody for a probation violation. After searching Claxton's apartment, police found a loaded shotgun with a sawed-off barrel and other alterations they believe made it easier to conceal. Police also found night vision goggles and a "military grade" bulletproof vest.
Cpt. Ronald Pontecore Jr., acting commander of the Chicago Police Department's 12th District, said Claxton had a previous felony weapons conviction in Illinois. He did not know if the probation violation came from that previous offense.
Pontecore said he did not know if the employee and Claxton had had any previous altercations. He was not sure if there would be more charges.
Abu-Telab said Monday afternoon "that this turned out as it should have. This man is innocent until proven guilty. But if he gets out of jail next week, I am glad the police have found those weapons."
Abu-Telab said he has kept his staff informed of the various steps in the investigation and his primary concern had been "family, staff, guests and friends always being safe."
A Twitter account believed to belong to Claxton shows a last tweet at 2:39 p.m. on Aug. 4, the day he was taken into custody by police. His last tweet referenced the thunderstorm approaching the Chicago area, "#LollapaloozaDeathStorm http://twitpic.com/afiuwj "and attached an image of the Doppler radar over Chicago.
A July 23 tweet said, "glad its over..... my emotions got the best of me...." Another tweet on July 28 said, "F#@k life. F**K CPD...... F%&K THE WORLD!!!"
His Twitter profile reads, "Im 23, I love to cook, I ride my bike, I play paintball, And I work'd At @mayadelsol #FollowME."
Dan Haley and Graham Johnston contributed to this report.