ELMHURST – Stating that neighborhood sidewalks are not the place for using machetes, daggers and mortuary swords, Elmhurst Police Chief Michael Ruth told reporters gathered in the 600 block of S. Parkside Ave. on Wednesday that his department has ordered “The Knife Sharpener Man” to cease and desist from performing tricks and exhibitions for residents that involve any type of sharp instrument. The man Ruth was referring to is blade-edger Tony Del Ciello, who appears regularly around Elmhurst neighborhoods each summer and charges a small fee to sharpen things like kitchen knives, garden shears, and lawnmower blades.
“We received eight phone calls this week from people who said ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ sliced off their mailbox with a Samurai sword,” said Ruth, “And this morning we caught him over at The Farmer’s Market throwing switchblades at apples atop people’s heads. We’re just trying to keep the city safe.”
While the residents of Elmhurst embrace the 73-year-old Italian from Oak Park and his ability to flatten the tire of a moving vehicle with a ninja throwing star, Ruth wants Del Ciello to limit his services to knife sharpening and refrain from performing stunts like “The William Tell” and “The Devil’s Door” while conducting his business in town. Elmhurst residents think Chief Ruth is getting a little too worked-up over nothing.
“My five-year-old son got his first butterfly knife from Mr. Del Ciello the other day,” boasted S. Washington St. homeowner Mary Hilliard. “And I learned how to shape a toothbrush into a shank. I want to marry ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’, not have him arrested!”
Using the shoulder of the Eisenhower Expressway, Del Ciello pushes his large green and red cart from Oak Park to Elmhurst each day and enters neighborhoods ringing a gong to announce his arrival and using a crossbow to fire arrows at doorbells. Some residents have formed a personal relationship with Del Ciello over the years.
“He’s like an Italian version of ‘The Most Interesting Man’,” said Kirk St. resident Tammy Braxton, who has been sleeping on her front lawn for the past three nights in anticipation of Del Ciello’s unknown arrival. “We hired ‘The Knife Sharpener Man’ for my daughter’s birthday party a couple years ago, and now Tony and I follow each other on Instagram. So I know he’s going to come down my block sooner or later.”
The Elmhurst Police Department urges residents to call 9-1-1 if they see Del Ciello performing any knife stunts outside of “The Five Finger Filet”, which Ruth said “is fine”.