Forest Park police solved two crimes in the early morning on Oct. 19 after a woman summoned police around midnight and told them her white 2000 Chevy Malibu had been hijacked.
The woman told police she was left Doc Ryan’s around 12:45 a.m. to collect a credit card from a purse in her parked car. In the alley behind the 400 block of Beloit, she told police she was jumped from behind by two males who struck her and knocked her to the ground, holding her between a fence and a utility pole.
When she began to scream, one of the offenders allegedly told her “Do you want to die? Stop screaming.” The men took her purse and keys and opened her car, which contained a purse with cell phone, credit cards, I.D. and cash.
The woman quickly reported the cards stolen and within a few hours, police received a report that one of them had been used at a gas station in the 4700 block of Monroe in Chicago. Forest Park police searched the neighboring area and found the Malibu parked around Jackson and Cicero.
They staked out the car and observed a woman and two men, later identified as Joshua R. Brooks, 22 and Michael J. James, 21 of Chicago, who returned to the vehicle. Forest Park police took the three into custody. After determining the woman was not involved with the carjacking, Forest Park police arrested the two Chicago men. During questioning, James and Brooks admitted to an additional strong-arm robbery of a male medical student around midnight on Oct. 9 in the 600 block of Circle Avenue.
According to reports, the student was walking toward the CTA Circle Avenue stop and was grabbed by two men who allegedly “put him in a headlock” and dragged him between two houses, where they punched his mouth and chin. Taken were a Swiss Army bag, a cellphone and credit cards. Offenders attempted to use one credit card in Cicero the next morning but were denied. James and Brooks were seen on CTA surveillance video riding the CTA Blue line train after the Oct. 9 robbery, said Deputy Chief Thomas Aftanas.
Both victims identified the two in a lineup, Aftanas said.
“I don’t know why [James and Brooks] came to Forest Park,”Aftanas said, hypothesizing that it may have had to do with Forest Park being the last stop on the Blue Line. “This arrest was the combination of some good luck and good police work.”
Brooks had one prior drug conviction, Forest Park police said.
James and Brooks have a first court date at Maybrook Courthouse Oct. 23.