A group of bystanders saved the day after giving chase to an alleged strong-arm robber charged with grabbing a woman’s purse near the intersection of Circle Avenue and Madison Street. Police were called to the scene expecting to break up a fight, but discovered that a few good Samaritans had apprehended the would-be crook.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Sept. 22, patrons at Healy’s Westside leapt from their bar stools to give chase after watching Derek A. Kolakowski, 29, snatch a purse off the shoulder of an unsuspecting woman as she crossed the street, according to a police report. Another group of witnesses standing at a street corner also gave chase, according to witness statements. Kolakowski was riding a bicycle at the time he grabbed the purse, but fell off the bike and lead a brief foot chase before he was pinned to the brick wall of 350 Circle Ave.

The suspect declined to give a formal statement, but suggested to police that he has prior convictions.

“Just charge me,” Kolakowski said, according to the report. “With my background I’ll probably get seven (years). Well, I should be out when I’m 40.”

Kolakowski is facing a single felony charge for robbery.

Dope, cash seized in traffic stop

More than 240 grams of marijuana and $2,600 in cash were seized in a traffic stop at the junction of Jackson and Maple in Oak Park last week and police arrested two men on felony drug charges. A third suspect in the case fled the scene on foot.

At 6 p.m. on Sept. 19, 29-year-old Eugene Grice was stopped for a traffic violation, but when police noticed the “overpowering odor” of marijuana coming from inside the car he was asked to exit the vehicle and was searched. Police found nothing on Grice, but the passenger in the front seat, 26-year-old Levaughn S. Collins, was allegedly carrying 2 grams of marijuana in his pocket.

Police also found $760 in cash on Grice and as authorities escorted him to a police cruiser, an unidentified passenger in the back seat of the stopped vehicle took off running.

Inside the 2007 Dodge Durango, which had been rented by Collins, police found a shopping bag filled with small sandwich bags and marijuana, according to the department report. Some 245 grams of dope was in the shopping bag, police allege. In the glove compartment was $1,895 in cash.

Victim mugged at gunpoint

Few details were provided to authorities, but a Forest Park resident reported being robbed at gunpoint on Sept. 19 while walking along Harvard Avenue near the intersection with Beloit Avenue. The victim said he saw the suspect approach him from behind and a gun was placed against his back, according to a department report. The alleged thief demanded the man empty his pockets, which yielded $757 in cash. According to the victim’s statement, he was on his way to a currency exchange on Roosevelt Road to get a money order.

The victim in the case provided authorities with no description of the suspect and did not report the alleged felony until two days had passed.

Screaming wife escapes batterer

A 38-year-old man from Hall, Ill., is facing felony charges for allegedly beating his wife while driving a freight truck south along Harlem Avenue. Police were alerted to the incident by a passerby who reported seeing the woman as she screamed for help from the passenger side of the vehicle.

“Upon approach of the cab I noticed a female…in the passenger seat screaming, with blood on her face and shirt, and blood coming from the back of her head,” responding police said in their report of the Sept. 21 incident.

According to the woman, she and Raylon Turner began arguing over the woman’s ex-husband and financial matters. At one point Turner allegedly pulled the truck over, jumped on top of the woman and began to beat and choke her, according to the report.

A search of the vehicle also turned up 25 grams of heroin. Turner was given two separate court dates, one for the drug possession charge and one for the domestic abuse charge.

Gun reported in gas station heist

An unidentified man allegedly made off with fistfuls of cash after robbing a service station at the corner of Harlem and Madison streets on Sept. 21.

According to a police report, the man went into the Shell station shortly before 10 p.m. and wandered the aisles for several minutes before bringing several snack foods to the counter. The suspect handed over two $1 bills, then pulled a black gun from his back pocket and demanded money. After making several grabs for the register, the suspect forced the clerk to put the rest of the money in a bag. The clerk complied and placed the cash into a white plastic bag with a smiley face on it, according to the report.

Police would not reveal how much money may have been taken in the heist, but investigators were able to lift several fingerprints that may help in identifying the culprit.

These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Sept 16 and Sept 23, 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