An unidentified arsonist tried to set fire to three cars parked in an alley parking lot on the 1400 block of Harlem Avenue on May 7 at around 11 p.m. 

The victims woke up on the morning of May 8 to discover that their cars – a red 2014 Mazda SUV, a black 2010 Mercedes-Benz 300 and a grey 2005 Mercury Marquis – had fire damage on their hoods. All three cars were parked on the cement parking pad facing the alley. 

The “Ring” doorbell camera at a nearby apartment building captured the suspect walking from the opened garage door of the standalone garage on the other side of the alley, on the 1400 block of Elgin Avenue, and throwing “burning material” at the Mercedes. 

Police officers interviewed the residents of the house the garage was attached to. One of the owners said that her husband was walking a dog at the time of the incident. The husband said the garage door had been open all night. Both denied any knowledge of the incident.

The victims all said they didn’t have any issues with anyone, indicating any of their neighbors.

Burglary of business

A burglar stole several bottles of alcohol from the USA Beverage Company liquor store, 7200 Madison St., on the early morning of May 12, but he found that there was no cash to steal. 

Security footage showed a grey Dodge Durango traveling east on Madison Street with its lights off. At 4:24 a.m., the car parked in front of the store, and a man got out and looked at the store window. The car then circled around, going south on Harlem Avenue and west on Adams Street before returning to the liquor store five minutes later.

The footage then showed the burglar getting out of the car, breaking the front window with “an unknown blunt instrument.” The burglar than loaded liquor bottles from the shelf next to the window. He is seen going in and out five times before getting into the car on the passenger side.

As the car drove off, River Forest Police Department officers on a routine patrol spotted the Durango heading south on Harlem Avenue with its lights off. The car pursued, and the burglar’s car raced toward Eisenhower Expressway. Ignoring the traffic lights, it got onto the expressway. The car was last seen heading east toward Austin Boulevard. 

The owner of USA Beverage said he doesn’t keep cash in the store overnight. At the time of the report, he wasn’t sure how many bottles of alcohol were stolen.

Identity theft

A man positing as an Xfinity Internet fraud prevention officer tricked his victim into granting him access to his phone and computer – but the victim became suspicious when the scammer asked him to buy Whole Foods gift cards.

On May 11, the victim got a call from a number with “Xfinity Security” caller ID. The scammer claimed the victim’s account was compromised and someone stole $1,200 from the victim. The scammer then asked the victim to give him access to his computer by providing his IP address. He also had the victim download the AnyDesk remote desktop access application and an administrative control plugin to his phone and his home computer. 

On May 12, the scammer called the victim again, asking him to go to Whole Foods and get a pair of $500 gift cards. Once the victim got to the store, he became suspicious.

The victim told police that he’ll cancel all his credit cards. His credit union informed him of an authorized $160 charge. 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department, May 8-14, 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