Riverside police on March 1 charged a Bloomington woman with four counts of theft, stemming from an incident first reported back in January by the family of a Riverside resident.

According to police, family members used the Internet to find a caretaker for a woman said to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. They hired 46-year-old Mary K. Empson, who allegedly said she would be leaving temporarily to attend a wedding on Jan. 28, but never returned.

Police initially classified the case as a missing person report, but later changed the complaint to theft after a family member reported that several items were missing from her mother’s home, including a black leather jacket, house keys, a gold and diamond ring valued at $700 and other costume jewelry.

Police were able to track Empson to downstate Bloomington, finding out she was scheduled to pick up public aid checks there on March 1. Riverside sent two officers to the city, where they arrested her without incident.

Police also reportedly recovered the jacket, ring, keys and costume jewelry in Empson’s possession. She was charged with four counts of misdemeanor theft.


 Riverside police charged Cicero resident Wayne D. Crisp, 28, with aggravated driving under the influence, a felony, after an officer reported observing him speeding and driving erratically while northbound on First Avenue between Forest and Golfview avenues on March 4 at 1:41 a.m.

According to the report, Crisp’s 1995 Nissan crossed the center line and then swerved back and struck the curb prior to being stopped by police. The license plate of the vehicle also came back as registered to a 1993 Buick.

After failing field sobriety tests, Crisp was arrested for DUI. At the station a breath test reportedly revealed a blood-alcohol level of .156, nearly twice the legal limit. Because Crisp was driving on a suspended license and because the vehicle was uninsured, charges were upgraded to felony status.

 Berwyn resident Roman Podrizka, 42, was charged with counts of aggravated DUI and aggravated driving while revoked in connection with an incident on March 3 at 1:39 a.m. According to the report, an officer observed Podrizka’s 1991 Ford Explorer traveling very slowly southbound in the 3600 block of Harlem Avenue. The vehicle reportedly crossed the double yellow line several times before the officer effected the stop.

After failing field sobriety tests, the officer found that Podrizka’s license had been revoked for prior DUIs.

 Brookfield resident Matthew J. McCord, 29, was charged with DUI after an officer reported his driving a white Ford erratically while westbound in the 9300 block of Washington Avenue at 4:10 a.m. on March 5. According to the report, the car reportedly drove up onto the curb and then turned left at the Memorial Circle, traveling the wrong way around the roundabout.

During the stop, the officer reported McCord appeared intoxicated and administered field sobriety tests, which McCord failed. A breath test at the station allegedly revealed a blood-alcohol level of .197, over twice the legal limit.

Drug offense

Chicago resident Dirk S. Kranz, 50, was charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance, a felony, after Riverside police reportedly found crack cocaine and prescription pills inside his vehicle during a traffic stop on Feb. 26 at 9:13 p.m.

Police pulled over the 1995 Dodge minivan, which was traveling southbound on First Avenue near Ogden Avenue at a very low rate of speed, weaving between lanes and blocking approximately 10 other vehicles behind it.

During the stop, police interviewed the driver, LaGrange resident Lanita A. Cox, 44, who admitted she was driving on a revoked license and had three prior arrests for driving while revoked. She was charged with aggravated driving while revoked. During the conversation, the officer reportedly observed an open bag with empty beer cans inside the vehicle.

The van belonged to Kranz. During a search, police found, inside the glove box, a zippered container containing two plastic baggies. One baggy contained six pieces of what field tested positive for rock cocaine. The second baggy contained 1.5 pills of Diazepam and 8.5 pills of Hydrocodone.

Two other passengers in the van were not charged.

Vehicle burglary/damage

Eight vehicles were damaged or burglarized in the 9400 and 9500 blocks of Monroe Avenue, Brookfield, during the overnight hours on March 3-4, according to Brookfield police.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside and Brookfield police departments from Feb. 26 through March 5 and which 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.

?”Compiled by Bob Uphues