By Nona Tepper
Guns, real and pretend, at Harlem and Roosevelt
A Forest Park man and a Bellwood man were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm, cannabis and violating traffic laws on Dec. 4. An officer observed a silver Chevrolet mini-van disobey a Right Turn Only sign and drive across three lanes of traffic to enter the left lane at the intersection of Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue, according to a police report. The driver obstructed the traffic lane and made a left turn on a red light. Police curbed the minivan at the BP gas station in Oak Park, 7140 Roosevelt Road, about 12:25 a.m.
Four officers approached the vehicle, and asked the driver for his license and insurance. As the driver handed police his documents, officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana. The officer told the driver he smelled weed, and asked him to get out of the car. The driver complied, and told the officer he had recently smoked a joint but didn't have any marijuana on him.
Meanwhile, officers ordered the passenger out of the minivan. The passenger got out, but refused to face the officer and intentionally turned his body away from police. Police asked the passenger to put his hands on the minivan for a body pat down; the passenger refused and tried to walk back to the rear of the car. Police grabbed him by the left arm. The passenger then put his right arm on the car, but refused to put his left hand on the passenger rear door. An officer asked him what he was holding on his person, and the passenger told police he had a gun. Police checked the front of the passenger's dark jeans and uncovered a loaded semi-automatic handgun.
At that point, police transferred the two men to the Forest Park police station. A body search of the minivan's driver uncovered a burnt cannabis cigarette and cigar containing greenish leafy marijuana. After reading the driver his Miranda rights, the driver told police the passenger had been his friend for about a year, he picked him up at his house at 1406 Elgin Ave. in Forest Park and the two planned to visit the driver's girlfriend's house in Bellwood. The driver admitted to breaking traffic laws, and was issued two citations.
The passenger, meanwhile, told police he had been picked up at his house, and that the driver drove him to Walgreen's at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Roosevelt Rd., where the passenger withdrew cash. The two men were going to go shopping. He told police he carries a gun because he has been shot twice and has a bullet in his leg and that he needs one to protect himself. He did not have a valid firearm owner's identification card or concealed carry license and was booked for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, not holding proper identification for a gun and possession of cannabis.
Police were called to the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Roosevelt Road about a man threatening fellow motorists with a gun. Dispatch told officers the man was traveling southbound on Harlem about 7:20 p.m. on Dec. 5 in a grey Chevrolet, according to a police report. Police drove south on Harlem Avenue and identified a vehicle at Cermak Road, which matched the description. Police pulled the car over, and ordered the driver from the vehicle. An officer spotted what looked like the handle of a handgun near the front passenger seat. Police picked it up and discovered it was a plastic toy gun. Witnesses identified the driver as the offender and the toy handgun as the weapon. They said the offender had cut them off as they drove south on Harlem at the I-290. They reportedly had an exchange of words with the offender, who then pointed the handgun at them. They thought the gun was real and feared for their life. Officers transferred the offender to the Forest Park police station, and charged him with aggravated assault.
Stealing a car stereo
Between 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 8 a.m. Dec. 6, someone broke into a white Jeep parked on the 7000 block of Circle Avenue and removed the car stereo, valued at $150. Offenders entered through the vehicle's unlocked door, according to the police report.
Attempted entry to a car
Officers arrived at the parking lot at 700 Lathrop Avenue about 1:49 p.m., Dec. 10, responding to a call about two men who were pulling on all the parked car's handles in an effort to gain entry, according to a police report. Police watched as the men tested the handles of two separate Jeeps at the same time. Officers exited their car and placed the two offenders in custody. A third man also stood inside the parking lot on watch for police.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, Dec. 4-10, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.
Compiled by Nona Tepper