Police nab alleged car burglars

Forest Park police arrested two men in connection with a string of Forest Park auto burglaries at the end of June. An Oldsmobile Aurora, captured in a surveillance video from one victim’s garage around 5 a.m. June 30, was recognized by Forest Park police as belonging to a female acquaintance of Antonio J. Harris, 25, of the 300 block of North Circle Avenue. In the video, a man was seen removing items from an unlocked minivan in the alley behind the 7400 block of Warren Street. Harris was found to be in possession of a credit card allegedly removed during the overnight burglary of a 2004 Buick parked in a gated area behind the 500 block of Thomas June 29-30. On July 23, police arrested Marquel D. Strong, 24, of Chicago, an acquaintance of Harris, and charged him with the burglary of the vehicle parked on Warren Street.

Open season on Dodges

Police once more found a Dodge Caravan minivan parked in Forest Park that had been broken into overnight, this time parked in the municipal lot at Circle Avenue and Madison Street around 1 a.m. July 22. The window had been pried open and the ignition switch had been pried off and removed from the steering column.

Four other vehicles were discovered in Forest Park with peeled steering columns between July 18-20 in the 200 blocks of Marengo and Elgin and the 400 block of Circle.

“Whoever this is, he’s not good at stealing cars,” said Deputy Police Chief Tom Aftanas.

Two other minivans were also damaged during that time, but thieves failed to enter the vehicles. Of the seven vehicles that seem to have been damaged in similar fashion, four were Dodge Caravans. A 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan was reported stolen overnight July 19-20 in the 400 block of Marengo.

Unlocked bikes lifted from library

A 12-year-old Forest Park boy said he rode his green FS20 BMX bicycle with black pegs on the back wheel to the Forest Park Public Library on July 23 around 11:40 a.m. He left it unlocked at the library bike rack. When he left the library, the bike was gone. Library surveillance video showed a man leaving the library bathroom, jumping on the bike and riding away. Forest Park police stopped a man the next day riding a bicycle that matched the missing bike near the CTA Blue line at 711 Desplaines Ave. He reportedly told police he stole the bike because he was homeless and needed to get to the West Side of Chicago to borrow money from a friend. The boy’s mother did not want to press charges, just to get the bicycle back.

A man told police he rode his daughter’s blue 26-inch Schwinn to the library and left it unlocked at the bike rack around 6:50 p.m. July 25. When he returned for the bike it was gone.

A 15-speed Schwinn was reported stolen from the bike rack at the CTA Blue Line terminal July 27 around 3 a.m. Loss was estimated between $200-300.

Bike cops get the abuse

A Forest Park bike patrol officer asked the female driver of a 2007 Toyota Scion in the 7400 block of Madison Street around 4:30 p.m. July 23 to pull over because the music from her car stereo could be heard more than 75 feet away. When the officer pulled up to the vehicle and slapped the passenger window to get the driver’s attention, the driver from Chicago, age 20, looked at him and then fled eastbound. The car slowed to a stop at Elgin because of blocked up traffic and the officer again asked the driver to pull over. She refused to exit the vehicle, at which point the officer physically pulled her from the Scion and took her into custody. As she was being led to a squad car she reportedly called the officer an offensive name and yanked her arm free, smashing the officer’s hand into the squad door. While in the station, the woman reportedly continued to swear at the officer, stating he was “bringing the hood out of me” and calling him fat and an a——. She was charged with loud music, battery and obstructing justice.

Guns of Madison Street

An officer on bike patrol observed a 2013 Chevy Malibu travelling westbound on Madison Street around 5 p.m. July 24 with a male driver who was not wearing a seatbelt. When asked to pull over, the driver made a dismissive sound and fled westbound on Madison. He was soon stopped by slowed traffic and the officer caught up and kicked the driver door, motioning for the car to pull over. The car continued until it was stopped by traffic at Madison and Thomas. At that point the officer pulled his bike in front of the car and demanded the driver exit the Malibu. At this point the driver, Timothy Kelly, 21, of Bellwood opened his car door into the officer’s chest and began to swing his fists at the officer’s head. He then continued to strike at the officer with closed fists. Two other officers came to their fellow cop’s assistance and helped take Kelly into custody. A female passenger was also taken into custody. While that was happening, the officer reportedly looked into the Malibu and observed a black .40 Hi-Point JPC pistol protruding from under the driver seat. The officer recovered the gun and observed it was unloaded and the serial number had been scratched off. Kelly was charged with felony possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number/unauthorized use of a weapon, aggravated assault, resisting an officer and seat belt violations. The female passenger was released without charge.

A second pistol was recovered from a driver who was observed by Forest Park police not wearing a seat belt as he drove eastbound on Madison at Jackson Boulevard around 11:15 a.m. July 25. Police stopped the 2000 Chevy driven by Randall L. Dodson, 33, of Maywood and Dodson told him his license was expired. The officer reported he could smell a strong odor of cannabis exuding from the vehicle. When asked if there were any drugs or weapons in the vehicle, Dodson reportedly stated, “all right I got a pistol,” and “the gun is under the seat, and the weed is in the back.” Police recovered a silver Comanche .357 caliber loaded revolver with five live rounds. Also recovered were bags containing 54 grams of marijuana and scales, zip-lock baggies and cigarette rollers, as well as four rounds of live ammunition for the gun. Dodson was charged with felony armed violence, unauthorized use of a weapon without a FOID card, possession of cannabis (over 30 grams) with intent to deliver and driving with license suspended.

Loads of pot in dog food bag

Police on patrol smelled the strong odor of fresh cannabis coming from a 1995 Buick Allure parked in the 1100 block of Beloit around midnight July 28. The Buick began to move when passed by the police, and allegedly entered traffic on Roosevelt Road without signaling. Inside were two men from Berwyn and a white dog in the back seat. When asked if there was anything illegal in the Buick, the driver, John E. Friedrich, 24, of Berwyn, said there was “a quarter pound in the trunk” of cannabis. Police reportedly recovered 120 grams of cannabis stuffed inside a yellow Pedigree dog food bag. An acquaintance came to the scene and took possession of the dog. The passenger was released without charges. Friedrich told police he purchased the marijuana from a man in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood that afternoon. Police found texts on Friedrich’s Boost cellular phone indicating the sale and delivery of cannabis and Xanax. He was charged with possession of over 30 grams of pot, possession with intent to deliver and failure to signal.

Weed sale at softball tournament goes awry

Police arrested two men at the No Gloves softball tournament around 4 p.m. July 28 after a cannabis sale went bad and all parties came to police attention. An Elmhurst man, 18, claimed he tried to buy $10 worth of “weed” from a previously unknown Naperville man, but inadvertently flashed a wad of $1,500 as he was paying. He initially told police the other man and an accomplice displayed a gun and tried to rob him. But the Naperville man, 21, told police the three had agreed to meet to buy $200 worth of pot from the 18-year-old man to resell. The two friends discovered they only had $160 and tried to conspire to make the seller think they had the full $200. They said they brought along a bb-replica gun for protection. As they all sat in a vehicle negotiating and the bb gun was revealed, a struggle over the gun and the money ensued, bringing the group to police attention. Two of the three were charged with possession of cannabis and the Naperville man was charged with attempted theft by deception.

Officer allegedly attacked

An officer investigating a domestic dispute was pushed down the stairs and injured around 8 p.m. July 28. According to reports, the officer was investigating a fight between a male resident on the 900 block of S. Harlem Avenue and a woman when a friend of the man refused to allow the officer to enter the residence, saying “nothing’s going on” and “you’re not going in the house without a warrant.” When the officer said he needed to speak to everyone in the house to make sure no one was hurt, Cassius Ryan Lemon, 20, of Forest Park, allegedly shoved him down the stairs. The officer grabbed Lemon as he fell and the two reached the bottom of the stairs where Lemon allegedly began to punch the officer with a closed fist. He allegedly struck the officer on the left side of the face with a closed fist. When two men left the apartment, Lemon got to his feet and fled. He was apprehended by assisting officers in the 1000 block of Elgin. Lemon was charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer. The officer sustained cuts to the left side of his face, swelling on the left side of his face, a cut on his left hand and scraped his elbow.

These items were obtained from the records of the Forest Park Police Department, July 22-28, 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...

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