A 21-year-old Schiller Park man was charged with a litany of offenses after his black 2021 Chevrolet pick-up was spotted driving down Madison Street with a missing tire, sending sparks everywhere and briefly catching fire.

An officer on patrol spotted the truck heading east on Madison on March 27 at 12:56 a.m. as it drove into Forest Park. It was traveling at 50 miles-per-hour – twice the speed limit – and sparks were flying from the front wheels. The officer tried to pull the driver over as the truck approached Desplaines Avenue, but the vehicle took off, turning south on Harlem Avenue. With just three tires, the driver had trouble controlling the truck. It was briefly “engulfed in flames” as it passed over the Eisenhower Expressway, and sparks continued flying as it headed east on Garfield Street. 

At this point, the officers stopped the pursuit. The truck was subsequently found abandoned in Oak Park, at the intersection of Garfield Street and Oak Park Avenue, with the owner’s wallet inside. Oak Park police officers searched the area and found the driver hiding in an apartment building on the 1100 block of Oak Park Avenue. 

The man told the officers that he was at the building to visit his girlfriend, and that he abandoned the truck due to “car troubles.” He insisted that he had no idea Forest Park officers were trying to pull him over.

Officers discovered that the man didn’t have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance or any registration for the abandoned truck. 

The Office of Cook County State’s Attorney declined to charge the man with aggravated fleeing. He was charged with fleeing a police officer, improper use of vehicle registration, driving without insurance, driving without a driver’s license, speeding and unlawful possession of a firearm. The man was released on bail. 

Retail theft

A 45-year-old Chicago man tried to steal a backpack from the Forest Park Walmart location, 1300 Desplaines Ave., sneaking it under a jacket and filling it with other stolen goods. 

On March 27 at 5:13 p.m., a store employee was looking at the security camera feed when he spotted a man wearing two jackets in the electronics section, taking the tags off the items using a boxcutter. The employee called the police, who detained the thief. The officers searched the man, discovering that the top jacket concealed a backpack that was also stolen from the store. A total of 10 items were found valued at a total of $448.31. 

The man told officers he didn’t have any money, and he was planning to trade the items he stole for drugs. He was charged with misdemeanor retail theft and was released on an I-bond. 

Catalytic converter theft

A catalytic converter was stolen from a white 2010 Toyota Prius parked at an apartment building on the 1000 block of Desplaines Avenue. On March 27, at 3:17 a.m., a tenant observed two men sawing off the converter and fleeing in a dark grey Infiniti SUV. A search of the area turned up negative. 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, March 28 to April 1, 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 Igor Studenkov