Jeremy M. McNair, 19, and Amos Garrison, 17, both of Brookfield, were charged with arson last week for setting a garage on fire on the 4400 block of Prairie Avenue May 16.

Brookfield police had immediately suspected arson as the cause of the blaze. Firefighters smelled gasoline at the scene, and recovered a 1.5-gallon gasoline can about 20 feet away from the garage.

At the time, the owner of the garage, Mario Pecura, Brookfield, said he did not think any of the tenants in his apartment building were involved in the fire, but that they had reported having trouble with youths in a nearby building.

Through their investigation, police were led to McNair and Garrison. They picked up the latter for questioning on July 12. At that time, Garrison told police he had been involved in the fire, but McNair had been the one who set it. Garrison said he and McNair had been drinking in McNair’s back yard on May 16 and Garrison had told McNair about a fight he had had earlier with a 16-year-old who lives on the 4400 block of Prairie Avenue.

Garrison said McNair suggested they burn down the youth’s garage in retaliation. Garrison and McNair took the gasoline can from Garrison’s house and walked to the scene of the crime, at which point Garrison claimed that McNair set the garage on fire, and the two fled the scene.

Garrison was charged with one count of arson and released to his mother’s custody.

The next day, police arrested McNair. He gave a similar account of the event, police reported, but McNair claimed that Garrison had been the one who set the blaze while McNair acted as a lookout. He was charged with one felony count of arson.

Regardless of who actually set the fire, which caused severe damage to one wall and the roof of the garage, McNair and Garrison had the wrong apartment building. While the youth they were targeting lives on the same block, he does not live at that address.

Unlawful use of credit card

n Two minors, a 16-year-old from Countryside and a 14-year-old from Brookfield, were charged with unlawful use of a credit card on July 13 after attempting to use a debit card they had allegedly stolen from a nearby vehicle at the Citibank on Ogden Avenue in Brookfield.

According to Brookfield police, the youths had been spotted by a garbage man tampering with the ATM machine outside of Citibank. When they saw they were being watched, the youths, who were wearing bandanas over their faces, fled. Searching the scene afterward, police found a debit card belonging to a Brookfield resident, who had earlier reported the card stolen from his vehicle on the 4200 block of Vernon Avenue.

A police investigation led them to the two minors. The youth from Countryside claimed they had found the card at Jaycee/Ehlert Park, but the youth from Brookfield admitted to police that he and his friend had broken into eight or nine vehicles on Vernon, Sunnyside and Oak avenues in a search for cigarettes on July 13. He said they had stolen a variety of objects in addition to the victim’s wallet, including $30 in cash, a set of car keys, a stereo faceplate, a cellular phone earpiece and a bottle of cologne.

Police recovered all of the stolen items from the Brookfield youth’s home. They matched items reported stolen from the victim’s car, as well as two other vehicles in the area. All items were returned to their owners.

DUI

n Angela C. Motola, 39, of Hickory Hills was charged with DUI on July 13 at 11:12 p.m. after a Riverside police officer observed her weaving from lane to lane while driving southbound on Harlem Avenue. After being pulled over, Motola failed field sobriety tests, and later refused to take a Breathalyzer test at the station.

n Javier Mendoza, 23, of Berwyn was charged with DUI on July 14 at 4:07 a.m. after a Riverside police officer pulled him over for squealing his tires while driving southbound on Harlem Avenue. The officer reported that Mendoza smelled of alcohol and his eyes were red. Mendoza refused to complete field sobriety tests or take a Breathalyzer test at the station.

n David Hernandez, 26, of Westchester was charged with two counts of DUI on July 16. At 10:50 p.m., he was clocked driving 44 mph in a 25 mph-zone on East Burlington Street. When Riverside police pulled Hernandez over, he failed field sobriety tests. At the station, Hernandez blew 0.126 on the Breathalyzer.

Battery

n Kristi J. Giacomelli, 41, of Brookfield was charged with battery on July 13 after allegedly slapping her 10-year-old neighbor after accusing him of lighting off fireworks in her front yard. The 10-year-old and a friend said Giacomelli had falsely accused them of setting off fireworks, and had hit her neighbor so hard across the face that she knocked his baseball cap off. Giacomelli admitted she had yelled at the boys, but denied slapping either of them.

Vehicle theft

n Joseph Paolinelli of Brookfield reported his vehicle, a blue 2002 Chrysler Town and Country, stolen on July 12 at 9:46 a.m. He said he had last seen it parked in front of his house on the 3900 block of Forest Avenue on July 11 at 11 a.m. On June 16, he said, the car had been burglarized and a set of keys had been stolen. On July 12, the vehicle was recovered in a field in South Homer Glen.

Theft

n Someone stole an aluminum brake, used to shape and bend aluminum siding, from a construction site at 3016 Prairie Ave., Brookfield, sometime between July 9 and July 11. Estimated value of the brake is $1,200.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside and Brookfield police departments from July 11 through July 16 and represents a portion of the incidents to which police responded. Unless otherwise indicated, anyone named in these reports has only been charged with a crime. The cases have not yet been adjudicated.

?”Jessica Glowinski