A man suspected in at least 24 burglaries in Oak Park and several others in Forest Park last fall has been sentenced to seven years in prison. Alden Jackson, 41, pled guilty to two counts of burglary on March 10 in Circuit Court Judge Michael Tucker’s Maybrook courtroom.

The Cook County State’s attorney had asked for a 15-year sentence on the two guilty pleas by Jackson, who had eight prior convictions since 1983″six of them for burglary. However, Tucker sentenced him to just seven years, possibly because Jackson had no attorney representing him in court.

“He just came in [to court] and pled,” said Oak Park Deputy Chief Bob Scianna.

This is the sixth time Jackson has been sentenced to prison.

In any event, police are happy just to have Jackson back behind bars.

Jackson was stopped and searched by Forest Park officers in the 7300 block of Madison around 4 a.m. last Nov. 4 after Oak Park police responded to a burglary alarm at Al’s Grill, 1100 Madison in Oak Park. Forest Park Officer Ken Gross found Jackson in possession of a bag containing liquor stolen from the New Rebozo restaurant, 1116 Madison in Oak Park, and $1,500 in cash stolen from the JJ Fish restaurant, 316 South Harlem Avenue in Forest Park. Officers also recovered a pry bar, a walkie talkie and a crack pipe. Jackson told Forest Park police after his arrest that he spends whatever money he gets on crack cocaine.

Forest Park Police also found pry marks on the door of the Subway restaurant next to JJ Fish, but reported that the perpetrator was apparently unable to gain entry, and said they suspected the attempted burglary might not have been Jackson’s work.

Forest Park Police Chief James Ryan said the arrest was an example of the collaboration that goes on between Forest Park Police and surrounding departments.

“It just shows how our departments work so closely together. Since we’re sharing the same borders it shows how important it is to share information,” he said.

“(Officer Gross) does a great job, he just has a really high volume of quality arrests.A lot of policemen just have a nose for this kind of stuff…he’s just a quality officer,” said Ryan.

A suspected Jackson accomplice was stopped by Oak Park officers around the same time down the street from Al’s Grill. Police believe they saw the man throw something away as they approached him. But the man, who reportedly lived in the same building as Jackson’s girlfriend, had nothing in his possession, and was not charged. He was wanted by Maywood Police on an arrest warrant, though, and was turned over to that department.

Between September 3 and November 1 of last year, 22 Oak Park businesses were burglarized, most by rear doors being forced or pried open.

Forest Park Police noted that Jackson might have been responsible for burglaries at the Okay Cleaners next to JJ Fish and the Starship Subs restaurant on Madison Street that occured during approximately the same time period.

As for the other 23 Oak Park burglaries, Scianna said Thursday that his department is still waiting on evidence sent out for forensic analysis, but he isn’t particularly optimistic.

“The (two convictions) were on the incidents in which we had the strongest physical evidence,” said Scianna.