Robber takes a sledge-hammer to currency exchange

Forest Park police responded to a report that someone was attempting to smash through the back door and window of the currency exchange at 7207 Roosevelt Road around 3:25 a.m. on June 1, using a sledge hammer. A female employee was present in the store and called police. She reported that she activated the panic alarm buttons under all registers and attempted to dial 911 from a landline phone. She then grabbed her cellphone and ran toward the bathrooms. She told police she asked the intruder what he wanted and he replied, “Money, money, money.” She locked herself in the bathroom and called 911. By the time police arrived with a K-9 unit, the offender had fled. The employee described the offender as a male in all-black clothing with a hood completely covering his face. No weapon was displayed, according to police. The case is still under investigation.

Faulty steering, six-car accident

A man told police that a Honda sedan’s steering wheel which “pulled to the left” caused a six-vehicle accident with injuries in the 8300 block of Roosevelt Road around 1 p.m., May 24. The driver, a 22-year-old from Aurora who was discovered to have a suspended license, told police he veered across the yellow line into oncoming traffic. He told police, “My car started to pull to the left and I hit the truck.” The man was charged with driving on a suspended license, driving over the center line and operating an unsafe vehicle. Injured passengers from the other vehicles were transported to Loyola Medical Center in Maywood.

Walmart shoplifters

Police were summoned to Walmart, 1300 Desplaines Ave., around 3 p.m. on May 24 where loss personnel said they had observed two women pushing a cart through the store, removing merchandise from the shelves and stuffing it into Walmart plastic bags. The two then walked to the front of the store and exited with a reported $487 worth of merchandise in the cart. Store personnel tried to stop the two and one paused, but the other fled into a waiting black SUV, leaving behind the cart and 52 shoplifted items. The other woman, 20, from Chicago, was arrested. At the station, she claimed she had only picked eight items herself and that her companion was the more prolific shoplifter. She was charged with retail theft.

Tailgating results in late-night accident

The driver of a 2001 Kia Spectra, allegedly tailgating a Mercedes Benz SUV for “a mile” around 11 p.m. May 25, rear-ended the Mercedes when it stopped at a light. When police arrived, the occupants of the two vehicles were standing at Jackson Avenue and Madison Street arguing over the accident. After physically separating the two parties, police questioned the Kia driver, Eddie D. Johnson, 19, of Bellwood, who reportedly smelled strongly of alcohol and spoke in slurred speech when he told police, “I know I’m —-ed up. I been drinking Grey Goose. I don’t shoot people. I’m not a bad person.” Johnson blew a .224 on the breathalyzer, almost three times the legal limit of .08 blood alcohol content. He was charged with DUI, no insurance and no driver’s license on person.

Drinking, heroin and rare coins

Forest Park police observed two Berwyn men in their 40s standing at Harlem Avenue and Garfield Street in Oak Park and report that one was openly drinking from a can of Ice House beer at 4:20 p.m., one of whom had a utility knife hanging from his vest. Police recovered the knife and then performed a safety pat-down. They discovered both men had small vacuum-packed plastic bags of a white powdery substance that later tested positive for heroin. Each man had 1 gram of heroin on his person. Police report that they also recovered rare coins from the pockets of both men. One told them he received the coins as a tip in his work as a mover. The other said he’d been collecting rare coins his whole life. Police put out a bulletin to neighboring departments to see if the coins were reported stolen. The two were charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Sensors trigger shoplifting opportunity

A woman was arrested at Walmart, 1300 Desplaines Ave., around 7 p.m. on May 28 after allegedly stuffing an empty baby stroller with merchandise worth $363.73. When stopped by store personnel and turned over to Forest Park police, the woman reportedly said a friend had observed that as they entered Walmart, the merchandise they had earlier purchased at Kmart nearby caused security sensors to beep and suggested they might be allowed to leave the store with several pieces of merchandise, including hair-care products and electronics, hidden in the empty baby stroller. Reportedly, the suspect legitimately paid for a bottle of lotion and perm solution in an attempt to disguise the hidden items if the sensors went off. However, loss prevention staff found the items after she attempted to leave. The woman reportedly expressed alarm because her child who had formerly been in the stroller was with acquaintances in the parking lot. She reportedly made several phone calls from the Forest Park police station to verify the well-being of her child. Valyncia Graham Jr., 23, of Bellwood was charged with one count of felony retail theft.

Overnight burglaries

A couple told police that someone entered their residence in the 500 block of Elgin between 2 and 5:30 a.m., May 31, and made off with a purse and car keys and drove off with a 2005 Chevy Malibu, which was in the garage. One of the victims told police she woke up and could not find her purse or car keys and observed muddy footprints on her kitchen floor and kitchen window sill. She then discovered the Chevy missing. Police reportedly found matching footprints in the muddy backyard and next door at a vacant house.

A woman reported that a white MacBook laptop computer was removed from the shelf near her first-floor window at a residence in the 400 block of Ferdinand sometime between 9 a.m. May 27 and June 1.

Man punches bar window

Police said a 21-year-old Oak Park man who was being denied entrance to the Short Stop Lounge around 2:30 a.m., June 1, turned to the bar’s plate glass window and punched it with a closed fist, causing a crack in the glass. He was arrested and charged with criminal damage to property.

Catalytic converter stolen

A female employee at Walmart told police someone removed the catalytic converter from her 2008 Lexus between 11:40 a.m. and 12:20 p.m., June 1, after she left it parked in the Walmart employee parking lot. Security video showed a man exit a green GMS van and appeared to tamper with her vehicle, the police report said.

Heroin arrest

A Villa Park man was observed in the parking lot of Thornton’s gas station removing a bag from the trunk of his Mitsubishi and allegedly dumping a pile of white powdery substance onto a magazine cover and preparing and retrieving a spoon and some needles from his bag. A Forest Park officer, who reported observing these actions and items in plain sight, opened the door of the Mitsubishi and placed Michael S. Boerger, 31, under arrest. Boerger reportedly stated he had bought the heroin, measuring 1 gram, for $40 from a contact and had previously purchased drugs from the same person seven times. He was found to be on federal probation, but at time of arrest it was unclear on what charges. Boerger was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

These items were obtained from the records of the Forest Park Police Department, May 24-June 2, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anyone named in the report has only been charged with a crime.

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...