By Bob Uphues
A 68-year-old LaGrange reportedly called Riverside's non-emergency police line on five occasions during the past month, threatening to "murder" the police chief, a retired police sergeant and another Riverside police officer.
Lawrence M. O'Keefe has been charged with threatening a public official, which is a Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of up to five years, if convicted. He remains free on a personal recognizance bond while awaiting trial. His next hearing is on Feb. 5 at the Maybrook courthouse.
According to police, O'Keefe called the non-emergency line between 8 p.m. and midnight five times and, in addition to making death threats, said he was taking "all the Riverside police officers to the grand jury to take away their guns and bullets."
Riverside police traced the calls to O'Keefe, a former Riverside resident who had been arrested previously in the village around 2005-06.
One incident reported in the Landmark in January 2005, involved a police response to the vicinity of Akenside and Delaplaine roads following the report of a man running around outside, dressed in nothing but a pair of socks.
Police at that time charged O'Keefe with disorderly conduct and possession of a controlled substance.
At the time, Police Chief Thomas Weitzel was a detective sergeant, but he said he was not the arresting officer in any incident involving O'Keefe, nor was the retired police sergeant he allegedly threatened. The other police officer allegedly threatened by O'Keefe was not employed as a Riverside police officer at that time, Weitzel said.
During at least one of his calls to Riverside police, O'Keefe reportedly accused the department for causing him to lose his job and pension from a railroad company. Weitzel said that police have not been able to confirm that O'Keefe was employed by a railroad.
Detectives arrested O'Keefe without incident at his residence in LaGrange on the afternoon of Jan. 31.
At the time of his arrest, O'Keefe was also wanted on a warrant by the Oak Brook Police Department for allegedly making a telephone threat to an attorney in that village.