Train car taggers nabbed 

Three young men, wearing CTA reflective vests, were observed by a CTA employee around 3:40 a.m. Jan. 28 in the train yard behind the Blue Line terminus at 711 Desplaines Ave. The three were allegedly spray-painting graffiti on train cars. When they saw they were observed, they fled, running westbound through Concordia Cemetery. Forest Park police responded but were unable to find anyone. However, officers noticed a grey 1999 Saturn driving through the area. After observing the Saturn make a turn without a signal, an officer curbed the car and noticed the odor of spray paint coming from the vehicle. The driver, age 22 from Chicago, first stated he was on his way to work in Cicero, then said he had picked up his two passengers for breakfast. Spray paint on one passenger’s pants and a pair of purple latex gloves poking from a pocket were enough to cause the officer to ask more questions. Officers recovered spray paint can lids and a camera that turned out to have video of the three spraying graffiti on train cars. The three men, age 22, 31 and 23, were charged with felony criminal defacement of property and trespass to state-supported land.

 Break-in at liquor shop 

Police arrived at Famous Liquors, 7714 Madison St., around midnight, Feb. 1, after a sensor indicated someone was in the store. Officers found the front door lock popped out, a cash register pulled out of the counter and a register printer and receipt roll tossed on the floor. Surveillance tape showed an unknown man entered the vestibule and went to cash registers pulling out receipt rolls and printers. He was seen on tape running away in the snow. Officers canvassed the area and found no one. Loss was estimated at $400 to replace the register.

 Jittery in a Jaguar

Forest Park officers observed a silver 2011 Jaguar XJ parked and vacant with a running engine in the 800 block of Circle Avenue around 12:14 p.m., Jan 29. The car had illegally tinted windows and a crack in the windshield. Two men exited the house and entered the Jag, allegedly making a U-turn without signaling. Police activated flashing lights, and reportedly observed the driver and front seat passenger switching places before stopping the car. Officers noted the original driver and registered owner, age 24 from Chicago, had a suspended license. The second man, age 25 from Forest Park, identified himself as the driver’s uncle. The two told police they were on their way to downtown Chicago to a court hearing for driving with license suspended. The nephew said “I know, I’m f—— stupid, but my license is suspended.” He said he was afraid to go to jail and so switched seats. Officers towed the Jaguar away and charged its owner with driving with license suspended, failing to signal and resisting an officer. 

 ‘Why don’t you shoot?’

Forest Park police responded to the Walmart, 1300 Desplaines Ave., around 3:30 p.m., Jan. 29 after security employees stopped a 61-year-old North Chicago man for allegedly shoving merchandise into his jacket and trying to leave without paying. The man was stopped by security at the vestibule and restrained until police arrived. Security guards told police they saw the man conceal a USB charger and a small notebook in his jacket. While being taken into custody, the man “became extremely upset” and reportedly said, “I’m black. Why don’t you just shoot me? That’s what you people do.” He was taken to the station and his 1998 Toyota Camry was towed and held for fines. Due to past larceny and theft convictions, he was charged with felony theft.

 Heroin highway stop

An officer traveling on the I-290 expressway, around 4:34 p.m., Jan. 29, ran the Michigan plates on a 2003 Volkswagen and decided to pull over the vehicle because the registration was expired for two years and had a non-functioning tail light. The driver, age 29 from Elmhurst, acted nervous and the officer noticed knotted small baggies on the floor of his car. Over 7 grams of heroin were recovered from the man, who said he was a recent user of heroin and had scars and marks on his arms indicating needle use. He said he bought $100 of heroin, or a “jab” of 10 servings, from a dealer in Chicago. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance.

 Mustang corralled

An officer traveling on I-290 conducted a random registration stop on a blue 2009 Mustang convertible being driven by a 67-year-old Forest Park man. Turns out the man’s license was suspended for DUI. The officer followed the Mustang up the Harlem Avenue ramp into Forest Park, where he curbed the vehicle and issued a ticket for driving with license suspended and impounded the Mustang. Told his car was being seized, the man became agitated and upset, saying he “could not win.” Because of his reaction, police summoned an ambulance to bring him to a hospital for evaluation. 

 Failure to yield leads to pot stop

An officer pulled over a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee around 7:30 p.m. on Madison Street, Jan. 30, after the driver failed to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk near Constitution Court. While talking to the driver, the officer noticed the strong smell of cannabis smoke coming from the vehicle. The male driver, age 26 from Westchester, gave up two small bags containing a green leafy substance resembling pot, and the male passenger, age 27 from Westchester, had a pipe. A 30-year-old Broadview woman in the car also had drug paraphernalia on her person. They were issued local ordinance citations and released.

 Backpack snatchers

Four people, two men and two women, walking in the middle of Hannah Street near Harrison around 10 p.m., Jan. 30, matched the descriptions of a group who had allegedly removed a backpack containing three chef jackets minutes before from Amelia’s Food and Drink, 7330 Harrison St. An officer stopped the group and one man admitted dropping the backpack in the 800 block of Hannah when he saw the squad car. The pack was found, and the victim identified both it and the man who allegedly took it. An 18-year-old Chicago man was charged with theft. 

 Wallet lifted from employee

A 17-year-old employee of Scratch Kitchen reported his wallet missing around 10 a.m., Jan. 31, from a coat hanging in an employee area between the restaurant and the Hallmark store next door. Video surveillance showed an unknown man entering the Hallmark store, around 4 p.m. then exiting to the common hallway, rifling through the jacket and removing something, breaking into the kitchen office and then leaving. Police categorized the event as a burglary, and said surveillance showed the offender near other Madison Street businesses the same day. 

 She can’t help it

A 48-year-old Bellwood woman in the back of a squad car told an officer she has enough money to pay for things, but she just can’t control herself and just takes things. This after she had been observed by Walmart security allegedly pocketing a wristwatch and a pair of reading glasses around 3:30 p.m., Jan. 31. When she slid through the checkout without paying, security officers detained her for Forest Park police. She was charged with misdemeanor theft, given a court date and released.

 Auto burglaries

A diaper bag, keys and a purse containing credit cards and $100 were missing from a 2009 Dodge Charger, Jan. 27, after its owner parked in the Walmart employee parking area to pick up her mother from work. Officers tried but failed to glean information from a security video. The victim found out her credit cards had already been used in Chicago.

On Feb. 1, a woman called police after she noticed her car had been ransacked while parked in the 500 block of Desplaines overnight. Missing was $20.

 These items were obtained from the records of the Forest Park Police Department, Jan. 26-Feb. 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.

 Compiled by 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...