Forest Park officers apprehended two men who were wanted for allegedly committing armed robberies after a Chicago police helicopter flying overhead spotted them hiding in the bushes.

On Sept. 12 around 6:47 p.m., a helicopter alerted officers that a white 2019 Infiniti carryall, flagged for a possible connection to “several” armed robberies, was making its way along the Forest Park/Oak Park border, heading south on Harlem Avenue before turning east on Randolph Street into Oak Park, then south on Maple Street. The officers lost sight of the car, but the helicopter spotted it a few minutes later in North Riverside, heading north on Harlem Avenue toward Cermak Road. The helicopter kept track of the car as it turned east on Cermak Road. At the Cermak Road/Kenilworth Avenue intersection, two men got out of the Infiniti and ran south on Kenilworth Avenue, entering a yard on the 2000 block and hiding in the bushes.  

Two Forest Park officers arrived on the scene and ordered the two men to come out of the bushes. The suspects surrendered. 

The Infiniti turned out to be stolen on Aug. 24 from the 1000 block of Desplaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Smoke shop burglary

Four men broke into OG Smoke Shop on the night of Aug. 17, taking the entire cash register with them before burglarizing North Riverside’s Betty’s Bistro further south and leading the police on a chase through Chicago’s West Side.  

According to witness testimony and the surveillance footage, four men got out of a silver Kia SUV of unknown model while the driver strayed inside. After failing to shatter the glass door, they were able to pry the glass panel apart and get in. They grabbed the cash register, containing approximately $200 in cash, an entire display case of electric cigarettes, and a handful of e-cigarettes from another display case. They left the store within two minutes and headed south on Harlem Avenue.

As Forest Park officers were examining the crime scene, they got a call that North Riverside police was chasing a vehicle matching the Kia’s description following the Betty’s Bistro burglary. The Kia was heading back north on Harlem Avenue. Forest Park officers spotted the car as it flew past them.

The two police departments gave chase as the Kia made its way through the Austin, West Garfield Park and East Garfield Park neighborhoods of Chicago. The police lost track of the vehicle in North Lawndale, near the California Avenue and Polk Street intersection. 

While searching the area around OG Smoke Shop, police found a grey Magna Excitor bicycle. They took it to the Forest Park police station for safekeeping.

Identity theft

A scammer not only got access to a Forest Park man’s Chase Bank debit card but stole the replacement card the bank mailed when the victim reported the scammer.

On Sept. 5, the victim got a call from a man who said he was a Chase Bank representative investigating a suspicious withdrawal. Because the scammer gave the right debit card number, the victim believed the call was legitimate. The scammer asked the victim for his PIN and said he would call the victim back. The scammer didn’t follow through, and the victim realized something was amiss when he called the number and got a busy signal.

He reached out to Chase Bank, which cancelled his card and told him they would mail a new card via UPS by Sept. 7. When the card didn’t arrive, the victim went to a nearby Chase branch and found out that UPS had confirmed delivery. The employee then discovered that someone withdrew $8,000 from the victim’s account using the new debit card. 

Chase Bank closed the account to prevent further theft.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Forest Park Police Department 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