Criminal charges against two men accused of threatening to “put a bullet” in a security worker at a popular downtown Naperville bar have been dismissed.
Misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct/breach of peace were thrown out in the cases of Gregory Payne and Dragan Zdravev, after the 39-year-old victim of the alleged crime failed to appear in DuPage County Circuit Court to testify against them.
Payne and Zdravev are both 23 and live in Aurora. Naperville police arrested them following the late-night April 20 disturbance at Rizzo’s, 6 W. Jefferson Ave.
The bouncer who was allegedly threatened failed to appear Wednesday in court for the scheduled start of Zdravev’s trial, said Paul Darrah, spokesman for State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin.
Court records indicated the alleged victim had done the same thing on June 19 in Payne’s case. The judges overseeing both matters thus dismissed the cases.
A Naperville police spokesman in April said the two men that evening “were giving a bartender a hard time, and at some point exited the bar to smoke.” They were not allowed back inside “because of their alleged harassment” of the bartender, the spokesman said.
Written police reports showed Payne and Zdravev then “threatened the bouncer, stating they were going to stab him with a knife and put a bullet in him.”
No one was injured during the incident. Police found no weapons in Zdravev’s or Payne’s possession.
An examination of court and police records revealed Payne was arrested in October 2011 and charged with two felony counts of theft, following a crime at the XSport Fitness center near 75th Street and Route 59 in far west-central Naperville. A judge in January 2012 sentenced him to 138 days in jail and placed him on two years of probation.
Zdravev in April 2010 was arrested by Illinois State Police and charged with a misdemeanor count of attempted consumption of alcohol by a person under the age of 21, according to court records. A judge in August 2010 ordered him to serve five days in the Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program, or SWAP, and placed him on a year of supervision, records showed.
Downtown Naperville’s reputation has been tarnished in recent years by a spike in crime and criminal mischief. The most serious incidents have included the stabbing murder of a teacher inside another nightclub, the slashing of a bouncer at a bar adjacent to Rizzo’s and an armed robbery on a nearby street.
Police, downtown merchants and others since then have banded together in what many have characterized as a successful effort to reduce trouble in the area.