Forest Park Police Chief James Ryan honored an alert citizen who reported early morning suspicious activity on Christmas Eve after witnessing two men crawling underneath a vehicle parked near 13th Street and Harlem Avenue around 4 a.m. The men were stealing a catalytic converter, a theft that has increased in frequency over the past year, Ryan said.

“As everybody knows, we have five policemen on the street and we can’t be everywhere at once,” Ryan said. “We ask residents to be our eyes and help us.”

Baudelio Meraz and his wife Elizabeth accepted a certificate of appreciation from the village at Monday’s meeting.

“Mr. Meraz was able to give us a description of the two offenders and their vehicle as well as a license plate number,” Ryan said.

“You are an example that others should follow,” said Mayor Anthony Calderone. “We’re honoring you for calling 911 and for not being afraid to do so.”

Meraz accepted the award saying, “If you see something, say something. It’s as simple as that. I would hope if it was my vehicle, someone would call police.”

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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