By Bob Uphues
An alert Brookfield resident appears to have helped stop a burglary crew that had been breaking into homes in the village and elsewhere in recent weeks.
On the morning of March 12, detectives from Brookfield and the Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT) arrested three Chicago men, reportedly as they were burglarizing a home in the 3900 block of West 83rd Street in Chicago.
Chicago police charged Nicholas Smith, 17; Dominic Brown, 22; and Terry Gardner, 20, with one count each of residential burglary. All three remain in Cook County Jail. Bond for Gardner and Brown was set at $125,000. Bond for Smith was set at $90,000.
Officers had been tracking the men since March 11 when a Brookfield resident called police to report suspicious activity on his block. The resident, who lives in the 4200 block of Forest Avenue, told police he was sitting in his kitchen when he saw an unfamiliar man walk through the side yard of his home and then walk around to the house next door.
Eventually he saw the man get into a blue Ford SUV, which drove away. The resident called Brookfield police and gave them a description of the vehicle and its license plate number.
Police also talked to another resident of the 4200 block of Forest Avenue, who said he was at home March 11 when someone rang his doorbell numerous times. When he answered the door and asked the man what he wanted, the man told him he was looking for someone. The resident told the man to go away and noticed that he got into a dark blue SUV and left the area.
Just after 1 p.m. on March 11, police also received a call from a resident of the 4100 block of Sunnyside Avenue, whose home had been burglarized. According to the homeowner, a 54-inch flat-panel TV and a laptop computer were taken from the home. Entry was gained through a rear sliding glass door.
With the license plate number in hand, police located the blue SUV parked in front of a residence on Chicago's South Side and kept it under surveillance. During the late morning hours on Tuesday, police followed the vehicle to the 3900 block of West 83rd Street where they made the arrests.
Brookfield police continue their investigation and hope to file charges after evidence is reviewed by the Illinois State Police crime lab.
That process could take months, according to Brookfield police Lt. Edward Petrak.
"Our hope is that some of the print evidence we submitted to the lab will match up to at least a couple of the burglaries," said Petrak.