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A man parked at a Harlem Avenue gas station was arrested on drug possession charges after police literally caught him with his pants down.

While on patrol Feb. 11, police noticed David L. Griffin, 41, had “leaned forward in his driver’s seat” at about 10:30 a.m. at 601 Harlem Ave. Because of the area’s reputation for drug activity, two officers began walking toward the vehicle and Griffin allegedly began making furtive movements. As they approached the driver’s side window, Griffin got out of his 1993 Toyota Camry and began walking away.

“After detaining Griffin, we observed Griffin’s pants were unbuttoned and unzipped,” police said in their report. “During a field interview, Griffin advised he was at the above location just to get gas.”

According to the report, Griffin had parked his car in a corner of the parking lot away from the pumps.

A search of his vehicle allegedly revealed two small bags of marijuana in the center console.

“I was just rolling a blunt,” Griffin reportedly told police.

In all, two grams of the substance were found. Officers did not report finding any contraband on the suspect.

Vanity items allegedly shoplifted

An idling car parked near a convenience store drew the attention of police who, moments after learning the registration was suspended for emissions violations, saw a man exit the store with a bulky jacket and drive off in the vehicle.

According to police, the 1997 Saturn was missing its front registration tag and was registered to an Aurora resident. Two men were seated inside the car as it sat just outside the entrance to Walgreens at 7200 Roosevelt Rd.

From their unmarked vehicle, police allegedly watched 38-year-old Gerald Branch, of Chicago, exit the store and toss two items concealed in his jacket into the backseat. Officers tailed the vehicle, radioed for backup and ultimately blocked the vehicle’s path on Marengo Avenue.

Police allegedly found two straightening irons that later were confirmed by store employees as never having been sold. The hair accessories were valued at nearly $110.

Branch was arrested and charged with retail theft and six traffic violations. The two passengers in the vehicle were released at the scene, according to police.

In cupid’s absence

A Valentine’s Day rendezvous ended in drug charges for one 25-year-old woman who was allegedly caught with a small amount of marijuana as she reportedly waited for her boyfriend.

Ruqayyah N. Muhammad, of Hanover Park, was arrested shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 after police took notice of her while parked at a gas station at 601 Harlem Ave. According to a department report, Muhammad had been sitting in her idling car for 10 minutes when police approached the vehicle.

“She stated she was waiting for her boyfriend so they could exchange Valentine’s Day gifts,” police said in their report.

Officers asked to search the car, to which Muhammad consented, and discovered a small plastic bag of marijuana and several “roaches” left from joints that had been smoked already, according to the report. The woman was cited for violating a local ordinance.

Parking ban violations

More than 20 cars found to be in violation of a local parking ban were towed from neighborhood streets earlier this month.

Between the early afternoon of Feb. 13 and early morning of Feb. 14, Forest Park Police removed at least 23 vehicles parked along the village’s snow plow route. Department reports indicate the cars were yanked in large part from Marengo Avenue, Lathrop Avenue, Thomas Avenue, Desplaines Avenue, Circle Avenue, Elgin Avenue and Madison Street. According to the department, each vehicle was parked along a marked snow route in violation of a municipal ordinance.

Chicago and the western suburbs received its largest single snowfall totals of the season that week, with reports of more than 8-inches at O’Hare International Airport.

K9 search yields little

A Forest Park K9 unit was called to assist detectives in Maywood in an apparent homicide.

On Feb. 12, at 7 p.m., police from the neighboring community asked that the dog be used to assist in the search for a murder suspect. A vacant, multi-family residence at 119 S. 12th Ave. in Maywood was believed to be a hideout for the killer of a local businessman.

The True Value hardware store at the corner of 12th and St. Charles streets was robbed, according to a department report, and the store’s owner was killed. The K9’s search of the abandoned property came up empty.

These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Feb. 9, 2007 and Feb. 16, 2007, and represent only a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Anyone named in this report has only been charged with a crime. The cases have not been adjudicated.

Compiled by Josh Adams