A 61-year-old man was reported to be in stable condition at Loyola University Medical Center after apparently shooting himself accidentally in the leg in the 7400 block of Roosevelt Road on March 2 around 5:10 p.m.

Police responding to the scene said the victim was lying on his back in the driver’ seat of his black 2013 Cadillac with a gunshot wound to his upper left thigh/groin area. One police officer recovered the gun, a 9 mm Bersa BP9CC pistol, from the back seat while two others administered first aid until paramedics arrived.

While on scene, police spoke with the victim’s brother who said he dialed 911 after the victim called him to say he accidentally shot himself. The victim reportedly told police that he obtained the handgun from his nephew, who purchased it in Ohio. Police, however, were unable to get any other information about what happened due to the man’s condition at the scene.

Possession of stolen firearm

Devante D. Howery II, 29, of Chicago, was charged with a pair of felonies – possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful use of a weapon – after reportedly fleeing a traffic stop on foot in the 500 block of Beloit Avenue on March 5 at about 12:35 a.m.

According to the police report, “due to recent vehicular hijackings and armed robberies at businesses in town,” police stopped the vehicle Howery was a passenger in because it had dark-tinted windows and was driving slowly through the alley behind the 600 block of Harlem Avenue.

After police curbed the vehicle on Beloit Avenue, Howery reportedly exited the passenger side and began running southbound on Beloit while carrying a firearm with an extended magazine.

Police eventually apprehended Howery in a nearby alley where he allegedly stashed the gun behind a trash can. Police said they recovered a Mac-11 Ingram 9 mm handgun with a fully loaded 32-round extended magazine. A computer search indicated the gun had been stolen in Chicago in March 2021. Howery did not possess a firearm owner’s ID card or concealed-carry license, police said.

Shots fired, no injuries reported

Forest Park police say someone fired eight rounds in quick succession near the intersection of Madison Street and Beloit Avenue just before 12:30 a.m. on March 6.

Two officers on patrol reported the gunshots and immediately checked the area nearby. A witness told them someone driving a white SUV fired the rounds into the air before fleeing southbound on Beloit Avenue. Another witness described the vehicle as a white Dodge SRT and said it had been parked directly in front of 7502 Madison St.

Police reported finding eight spent shell casings on the street in front of that address.

Armed robbery

Two men, one of whom displayed a handgun and threatened an employee, robbed 7-Eleven, 7749 Roosevelt Road, making off with cash and cigarettes on March 3 at 3:15 a.m.

Police responded to the scene after a witness called 911 and initiated a pursuit of the white Ford Edge the two men fled in, but the vehicle was able to elude officers who said it was last seen eastbound on Harrison Street from Desplaines Avenue. According to police, a female was driving the Ford with the alleged offenders as passengers.

A witness told police that the front door to the store was locked but that a clerk opened the door for her, because she is a regular customer and the two offenders walked in behind her and began walking around the store as if shopping.

As the witness walked out of the store, one of the offenders went around the counter. An employee told police one of the offenders lifted his shirt to display a handgun in his waistband and said, “I’ll shoot you if you don’t open the register.”

The offenders then took money from two cash registers as well as cigarettes from behind the counter before fleeing.

The March 3 incident marks the third time in the last month that the store has been robbed.

Alleged train taggers hit with felonies

Forest Park police arrested two men for tagging CTA train cars parked in the Blue Line train yard on March 4 at about 1:30 p.m.

Steven D. Balli, 37, of Douglasville, Georgia, and Michael J. Preissing, 32, of Rolling Meadows were apprehended after police located them in Forest Home Cemetery after a foot chase through the train yard. Each was charged with felony criminal defacement.

A witness had notified police that unknown people had jumped a fence along I-290 to gain entry to the train yard. A police officer reported locating two people tagging a train car and then initiating a foot pursuit with three people after the officer’s presence became known.

Police lost sight of the three, but another witness reported seeing two of them getting into a Chevy Equinox with Florida plates, which police observed a short time later driving slowly along I-290 inside Forest Home Cemetery.

Preissing reportedly was found trying to hide in the rear of the vehicle, while Balli exited the vehicle and walked toward a grave. When approached, he reportedly toldpolice he was “visiting a friend” who he named from a gravestone. Police noted the gravestone indicated that person had died in the early 1900s.

In addition to the two being identified by the initial responding police officer, Preissing also reportedly possessed a key ring with a master key to all CTA yard locks and a key that also could open all doors, restrooms and terminal gates for all CTA lines.

Delivery driver’s vehicle stolen

Forest Park police responded to the 500 block of Harlem Avenue on March 2 at about 12:45 p.m. after a 56-year-old man who was delivering flowers said his 2004 Chevy Trail Blazer had just been stolen.

The victim told police he had left his vehicle running and unlocked in a small lot just south of the address where he was making a delivery. As the victim was walking from the vehicle, a man approached and asked him for a dollar. The victim said he gave the man a dollar and continued walking to make the delivery when he heard a car door close. He turned around to see the man he’d just given the dollar drive off in his vehicle southbound on Harlem Avenue.

Theft from vehicle 

  • A manager at Elite Staffing, 1215 Harlem Ave., called police on the morning of March 2 to report that the catalytic converters were removed from two company vehicles, a 2021 Chevy and a 2017 Ford Econoline van, parked overnight in the lot.
  •  A 26-year-old man contacted Forest Park police to report that someone had removed the radio from the dashboard of his 2008 Dodge Avenger, which had been parked in the rear of his residence in the 500 block of Desplaines Avenue, during the overnight hours of March 4-5.

Stolen check altered

Forest Park police are reporting another incident in which a check placed in a local USPS post box has been stolen and altered in order to obtain thousands of dollars.

The victim told police last week that she had mailed a credit card payment in the amount of about $1,650 on Jan. 15, placing the envelope in a mailbox in front of the Forest Park Village Hall at 517 Desplaines Ave.

On Feb. 8, the victim received a message that she had missed a payment. When the victim checked further, she found that the check had been altered and cashed for about $6,650.

It’s the fourth such incident reported in Forest Park since the beginning of 2022.

Attempted ATM burglary

Forest Park police are investigating the attempted burglary of an ATM machine from a local bar during the early morning hours of Mach 2.

Officers responded to Mugsy’s Tavern, 7640 Madison St. at about 3:55 a.m. for a report of a burglary in progress. A witness told police the offenders fled in a silver or champagne-colored Ford Edge last seen northbound on Desplaines Avenue.

Security camera video showed the vehicle pulling up to the business at 3:51 a.m. One offender got out, shattered the window, entered the business and attempted to push the ATM loose before fleeing the scene when the witness appeared.

Bitcoin scam

A local business and a 26-year-old employee of that business were out $2,400 total in a Bitcoin-related scam carried out late on March 1.

The employee contacted police at about 1:35 a.m. on March 2 after realizing she might have been the victim of a scam. The victim told police someone named “Jack D. Spatel” called, saying the business was “having an issue with their permits” and that they would be fined unless they made a partial payment.

The caller sent the victim a QR codes/Bitcoin address at about 10:40 p.m. on March 1 and instructed the victim to make payment using Bitcoin. First the employee retrieved about $1,400 from the store manager’s office and drove to the Shell gas station at Harlem and Roosevelt in Berwyn to submit payment using a Bitcoin machine there.

At about 1:20 a.m. on March 2 the victim received a text message with another QR code and a request for another $1,000 payment, saying the victim would be reimbursed. The victim withdrew $1,000 from her personal bank account and used the gas station Bitcoin machine to transmit the funds. After making the payment, the victim realized she may have been the victim of a scam and called police.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, Feb. 28-March 6, and represent a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anybody named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. These cases have not been adjudicated.

Compiled by Bob Uphues