The ranch house at 841 Dunlop where accused shooter Gregory Hych and companion Kenesha Seridan were arrested April 29 is empty, foreclosed and was being used as a flophouse, of sorts, by a group of people when the two were nabbed by Forest Park police.
“There were a lot of other unauthorized people in the house when we made the arrest,” said Detective Sgt. Mike Keating.
Signs on the property’s two structures say the dwellings are unfit for human habitation. The water and gas have been turned off, and the toilets are not usable, although outdoor lights are on, so electricity still seems to be working.
The house cost $427,000 in 2006, but it has sunk into disrepair and blight. “There are weeds and garbage in the backyard. It’s horrible,” said Keating. After the arrest, the Forest Park building department padlocked the doors.
The property was owned by Thomas and Katheryn Reich of Forest Park. It was foreclosed and is now owned by PNC Bank of Louisville, Ky. The Reichs lost several Forest Park properties in bankruptcy. They owned three other Forest Park houses, as well as a property in Westchester. All three have been foreclosed, although there was evidence of people living in the Elgin and Lathrop homes this week. The homes may be rented, even though they are now owned by banks.
Keating said the police are always looking out for unauthorized people in foreclosed houses. “If we thought any house had squatters, we’d be taking care of that in a second,” he said.
“It’s not often that we find people who don’t belong in the house,” said Keating. “But we haven’t really had these foreclosure issues before.”
He says neighbors should feel confident to call police if they feel like something’s amiss in a house on their block.
“Trust your gut. If people think there’s something wrong with a house. Probably nine times out of 10 they’re right. They can call police to do a premise check,” he said. “There’s a hotline people can call (708-615-6239) if they see something is not right, and they don’t have to leave their name.”
“Keep your eyes open,” he added. “Don’t address anybody yourselves or confront them. But call us with descriptions, license plates, dates and times.”