A man who may have been plotting to rob the Forest Park National Bank was reportedly seen loitering at the financial institution by several bank employees just days before police were called to investigate.
According to a department report, an employee at the bank notified police Dec. 29 that the man had asked her whether she was aware that Chicago area banks were seeing a glut of robberies. As the man asked his question, he appeared to be looking around the inside of the Madison Street bank, then walked back toward the sliding glass doors at the main entrance.
“As he stood there, the subject stated: ‘this monkey is going to come in and rob this place,'” a witness told police, according to a report on the incident.
A search of the area found no one matching the man’s description, but authorities reviewed security camera footage and spoke with other employees. According to one witness, the man had been to the bank at least three times in the last two weeks. On the first occasion the suspect walked into the lobby, walked to the customer desk area, wrote something on a piece of paper and then left. On another occasion he tried to cash a check from another bank and then just two days before the Dec. 29 incident, pulled into the drive through where he sat at the ATM for some 10 minutes.
Another witness also reported seeing the man outside of the bank on several recent occasions.
The suspect was described by police as a black male, approximately 40 years old, 5-feet 7-inches tall and 180 pounds. On each occasion witnesses said he was wearing a black or navy puffy jacket. He has also been seen in a black wool cap, but wears his hair in braids and has a mustache.
Alleyway robbery at gunpoint
A man reported that he was robbed at gunpoint in an alley in the 900 block of Ferdinand, and that the offender pressed a pistol into the victim’s neck and began counting backwards.
According to a police report, the alleged robbery took place shortly before 10 p.m. on Christmas Day. The suspect had approached the man from behind and ordered him to turn over his wallet. Thinking it was a joke, the man refused, but quickly found himself lying in the snow with a gun pressed to his throat. The suspect started at the number five and began counting down, indicating that he would pull the trigger in a few seconds.
Just moments before, police in Oak Park received a call of a similar incident in an alley at 316 S. Oak Park Ave. in which the suspect put a gun to a woman’s throat.
Hot dog vendor burgled
A longstanding eatery located on Harlem was burgled, according to police, though it appeared the business was missing only $41 as a result.
Parky’s, located at 329 Harlem, was broken into sometime between 9:45 p.m. Jan. 3 and 10 a.m. the next day. A manager for the hot dog and burger stand found a window on the south side of the building had been smashed and the screen was cut. Inside the building it appeared the suspect flipped the cash register over, smashed it and removed $41 in cash, according to a department report. A larger safe inside the property was locked when police arrived and a smaller safe was unlocked, but unopened.
Not a taxi service
As an officer patrolled Madison during the early morning hours of Jan. 4, an Oak Park man who “lunged from the curb” almost found himself in the path of the squad car, according to the officer’s report. Believing the man needed assistance, the officer rolled down his window to talk with the stranger. Instead, the man walked to the rear of the car, opened the door and got inside.
“Take me home,” 27-year-old Joseph Woss allegedly said.
Repeatedly, the officer told Woss that this was not a taxi and the only place he could take the man would be the police station. Woss allegedly replied that “jail will do.” While en route to the station, the officer notified dispatch what had taken place and another officer on duty piped up that he had a similar encounter with Woss.
At the station, the two officers mulled the situation and decided to charge Woss with public intoxication, obstructing traffic and criminal trespass to a police vehicle. When police asked Woss for his birth date and identification, Woss allegedly refused, so he was taken into custody and searched. Police reportedly found a gram of cocaine in his pocket, which prompted a felony charge for possession of a controlled substance.
These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Dec. 24 and Jan. 4, 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