A Chicago teen was arrested on felony charges Sept. 23 after he allegedly followed a train passenger into Forest Park, punched him in the head and demanded that the victim hand over his cell phone, according to a department report.

The incident began during the afternoon while an 18-year-old man was waiting for the Blue Line train at Halsted in Chicago. According to a statement he gave to police, the man was approached by Devon Rodgers, also 18, and asked for the time. The alleged victim used his phone to check the hour, and Rodgers commented on what a nice looking device it was.

When the man, who was not identified by police, got onto the train, Rodgers followed. For the duration of the ride, the man told police he felt Rodgers was watching him. When the train stopped at Oak Park Avenue, he pretended to get off – but didn’t – and Rodgers allegedly mirrored his movements.

After finally reaching his stop at Harlem Avenue, the man got off the train and was suddenly punched in the ear by Rodgers, who shouted for him to hand over the phone. The man refused, ran along the platform and dialed 911, according to police. Rodgers took off in the other direction, but with a description of the suspect authorities soon tracked him down. Rodgers was charged with attempted aggravated robbery and aggravated battery.

One beer at a time

Between noon and 1 p.m. on Sept. 23, Paul Johns walked into the CVS on the 7200 block of Circle and quickly chugged a can of Icehouse beer before returning the empty can to the refrigerated cooler, according to a department report. Over the last three or four months, employees there estimated, Johns had consumed 120 cans of beer in this manner.

Police were called to the store and spoke with Johns, who allegedly admitted to his most recent beer binge and pointed out the empty can. Johns, a 46-year-old Oak Park resident, also confessed to having made a routine of this behavior, according to the police report.

The single 24-ounce can of beer has a retail value of $1.40, so John’s was issued a local ordinance citation for retail theft. He was also warned not to return.

Homeless shooed from bridge

Police rousted a small camp of homeless people underneath the Harlem Avenue bridge over the Eisenhower, telling them to collect their things and not to return to the property.

According to a department report, officers routinely chase people from under the bridge because the area is not safe and becomes littered with refuse. When police visited the area at noon on Sept. 23, they found two men, Bill Hamilton, 55, and John McDonald, 54, sound asleep. On the south side of the bridge, two more men were sleeping on property just a few feet from an active set of railroad tracks. Thomas Dunkell, 58, and Michael Callahan, 31, were told to gather their belongings.

“All four of these subjects have some form of substance abuse problem of one sort or another, but none wished to pursue getting treatment when offered,” according to a police report. “Their presence under the bridge fosters a growing public health concern, an unwanted eyesore to the community and a safety issue to the offenders themselves.”

Off to a poor start

Shortly after midnight Sept. 21, police spotted a familiar face in Melvin Morris, a 29-year-old Melrose Park resident who’s a known member of the Conservative Vice Lord street gang. He was standing outside of a Roosevelt Road nightclub. Authorities ran a records check, according to a department report, and learned Morris had an outstanding warrant out of Lombard for failing to make a court appearance. Police went into the club, Tonik, 7247 Roosevelt, and arrested Morris on the warrant.

En route to the station, Morris allegedly told police he had been hired as an entertainment promoter for the bar and tonight was his first day on the job.

Can used to hide drugs

A Forest Park resident was charged with drug possession Sept. 23 after police allegedly found 2 grams of marijuana inside a canister designed to look like a soda can.

Authorities were called to the area of 7441 Washington just before 10 p.m. for a report of several young men loitering in a parking lot. Three men were standing outside the entrance to an apartment complex, and when police arrived, Richard Bell, 23, set the canister on the ground, according to a department report.

When the officer picked it up, it felt heavy, warm and had a screw-top. He unscrewed the top and found several small bags of marijuana, each marked with a Superman symbol. Bell was taken into custody while the two others were released.

These items were taken from the records of the Forest Park Police Department between Sept. 20 and Sept. 25, 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

Tip hotline

Anyone with information regarding the cases mentioned in this report, or on another matter, is encouraged to contact the Forest Park police department’s hotline at 708-615-6239. Information may be left anonymously.