By Bob Uphues
Two charged with burglary in Riverside break-in
Riverside police have charged two local teenagers with residential burglary and say they expect to make more arrests in a case that came to light March 7 during a fight between two students at Riverside-Brookfield High School.
Police were called to the school, 160 Ridgewood Road, at 12:20 p.m. after staff broke up a fight between a 16-year-old Riverside resident and 18-year-old Armando Marentes, of North Riverside.
The altercation was reportedly related to the burglary of an apartment in the first block of Lawton Road on March 6. The Riverside boy reportedly confronted Marentes about the break-in the following day at school, according to police.
Police said the plan was for Marentes to steal cannabis from the apartment after the victim had been lured outside. Marentes allegedly hatched the plan with two others, including 18-year-old North Riverside resident Jimi Sieja.
According to police, Sieja drove Marentes and another teenager to the area near the apartment. Sieja reportedly then called the victim to get him to leave the apartment. Meanwhile, said police, Marentes entered the apartment through a rear bedroom window and removed the cannabis from the victim's bedroom closet.
Riverside police charged Marentes with felony residential burglary after taking him into custody on March 7 at Riverside-Brookfield High School. Police arrested Sieja on March 17, and charged him with residential burglary for his alleged role in the break-in.
Police are still looking for the third suspect.
"These drug ripoffs are becoming more and more common and have the potential to be very violent," said Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel in a press release. "Once most victims realize that they've been burglarized by an offender who steals their drugs, the victim will retaliate against that offender at a later date."
Three Brookfield residents reported that their vehicles had been broken into last week, with all of the incidents taking place south of Ogden Avenue.
A resident of the 4500 block of Sunnyside Avenue reported that sometime between 9:30 p.m. on March 12 and 6:45 a.m. on March 13, someone entered her 2001 Chrysler, which was parked on the street. The front seat had been pushed back and a package had been moved, but nothing appeared to be missing.
On March 14, police were called to the 4600 block of Eberly Avenue by a man who said he reported seeing an unknown man rummaging through the rear bed of his 1997 Ford pickup truck, which was parked at the rear of the property, just prior to 1 a.m.
The truck's owner confronted and ran after the subject, who fled northbound in the alley. Nothing appeared to be missing from the truck.
A resident of the 4400 block of Blanchan Avenue on March 16 called police to report that sometime between March 13 and 16, someone smashed out the driver's side window of her 2001 Mercedes-Benz and rifled through the glove box. Nothing appeared to be missing from the vehicle.
Scammed out of $500
A 27-year-old Berwyn woman told North Riverside police that a man posing as a social service organization employee bilked her out of $500 on March 8 after she encountered him at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road.
The victim told police she exited the mall into the lower-level parking garage at 3:30 p.m. when she was approached by a man who identified himself as an employee of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA).
The man asked the woman if she had her ComEd bill with her, saying CEDA was offering a special promotion to help pay down both her electric bill and gas bill. The woman did have her ComEd statement, which showed she owed $686.
The man told her if she gave him $500, he would be able to apply $400 toward her ComEd bill and $100 toward her Nicor bill. In the process, both bills would be brought down to zero.
After withdrawing $500 from an ATM machine, the woman gave it to the man, who said he'd make arrangements through ComEd. The victim then called ComEd and spoke to someone who told her the payment was being processed and gave her a confirmation number.
Suspicious, the woman also took down the license plate of the vehicle the "CEDA" man was driving. On March 9, the woman learned the payment had not gone through and that she still owed $686.
The vehicle the man used was registered to a rental company in Des Plaines, according to police.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, March 7-17, 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.