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Uptown 'Pigeon Lady' Charged With Shoving Ald. Cappleman Over Breadcrumbs

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A 5-foot 2-inch, 110-pound Uptown neighborhood woman is charged with shoving Ald. James Cappleman (46th) after he cleared away the breadcrumbs she had spread for pigeons.

Cappleman said he saw the breadcrumbs on the ground near Broadway and Wilson Avenue, and began to sweep them up. The woman got out of the car and became irate, police said.

Police said Young Kang, 59, told Cappleman, "You are the alderman; I voted for you. You should not be sweeping up breadcrumbs."

Cappleman told police that Kang shoved Cappleman hard enough to physically move him into the street, then threw a handful of breadcrumbs at him, according to police. She then drove away in a gray Toyota Prius.

Cappleman said he is 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds.

Police broadcast a message about a battery involving an alderman that included a description of the woman, the car and a partial license plate.

Police News Affairs Sgt. Antoinette Ursitti said police responding to the attack called pulled over the vehicle about 2:45 p.m. Friday in the 1100 block of West Wilson Avenue, steps from the scene of the attack, after other officers had spotted it.

A three-vehicle police tactical team stopped the car, and Kang exited from the passenger's side and threw rice near a sign warning of a $500 fine for feeding pigeons, police said.

Kang admitted to police that she'd had a confrontation with the alderman, police said. Cappleman arrived, identified her and signed a complaint for battery.

Kang Young, 59, of the 4900 block of West Winthrop Avenue, was taken to the Town Hall police district for processing, and charged with one count of misdemeanor battery and issued two tickets for dumping on the public way, Ursitti said.

Cappleman declined to comment when asked if he had known Kang previously, citing an upcoming court appearance.

The alderman said the area is littered with breadcrumbs every day and has a pigeon problem, so it is not uncommon for him or his staff to sweep up crumbs.

The city is also getting ready for a potential rat problem when the CTA Wilson station is renovated, he said, and one way to keep it down is by cleaning up breadcrumbs.

"We aren't trying to stop them [people throwing breadcrumbs], but if we see it we sweep it," Cappleman said. "We don't have any discussions with them."

The Uptown Update blog said Kang is known throughout the Uptown neighborhood as the "Pigeon Lady," and has been the subject of numerous complaints.

"While there are many issues facing our community, we have received countless emails from concerned neighbors about the frequent feeding of pigeons by Ms. Kang," the blog said.

Uptown Update posted an entry nearly a year ago about a woman repeatedly dumping breadcrumbs under the 'L' tracks near the Wilson Avenue Red Line stop, although the blog did not name Kang by name.

Because of the influx of pigeons, Uptown Update said in the June 2011 entry, pigeons had taken over the exterior of the shuttered Majestic Store for Men at Broadway and Leland Avenue, and "the awning at neighboring Apartment Vigilantes (4705 N. Broadway) was covered in pigeon poo."

A "Do Not Feed Pigeons" sign was even posted near the Wilson 'L' stop, Uptown Update said last year.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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