A Stickney man who told North Riverside police that he had been robbed outside the North Riverside Park Mall on Dec. 8 was actually the victim of a scam and was too embarrassed to admit it, police said last week.

The 18-year-old initially told police that he was robbed at gunpoint by a man he met in the food court of the mall, 7501 Cermak Road. But during an interview with police on Dec. 17, he admitted he was victimized by a con man.

The offender reportedly told the victim that he was from Jamaica and then asked him to help find an address. As the two walked around the mall, the offender showed the victim a roll of cash and asked if the victim would hold onto the money for him while he went to a meeting. The offender asked the victim if he had any money, to which the victim replied he had $180.

The offender put his money into a bandanna and asked the victim to do the same, as a show of good faith, since the victim would be holding all the money. The victim did so, and the offender handed him back the bandanna.

The offender walked off, while the victim sat in the food court waiting for him to return. After some time, the victim looked in the bandanna and found it contained only scrap paper.

Burglary arrest

North Riverside police charged Berwyn resident Dwayne E. Clayton, 24, with burglary to a motor vehicle on Dec. 20.

According to the police report, a witness sitting in a car in the lower-level parking deck at the North Riverside Park Mall, saw a silver Oldsmobile with four subjects inside back into a space next to a maroon Pontiac. The driver exited the Oldsmobile, opened the door to the Pontiac and began looking through it.

Meanwhile, another man, later identified as Clayton, reportedly exited the Olds and opened the rear door of the Pontiac and removed a toy gun still in its packaging. Clayton allegedly put the toy gun in the trunk of the Olds, while the other man put a bowling ball from the Pontiac into the trunk of the Olds.

All four then walked into the mall, while the witness contacted mall security, who notified North Riverside police working inside. Officers waited in the parking area until Clayton got into the Olds and started to drive away. He was blocked by police, who searched the trunk and found the items allegedly taken from the Pontiac.

The owner of the Pontiac identified the items as his and Clayton was charged with burglary.

Car stolen from mall

A 32-year-old Chicago woman reported to North Riverside police that between 9 p.m. on Dec. 19 and 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 20, someone stole her white 2007 Pontiac Grand Am, which was parked in the lot at the mall. The woman said her wallet, containing identification, a debit card and two Social Security cards, was inside the vehicle.

Too good to be true

A 46-year-old Brookfield man is out nearly $5,000 after reportedly falling victim to an online scam.

On Dec. 15, the man told police that in August he signed up for an online raffle through what he believed to be a big box retailer’s Web site. By filling out a survey, the Web site, claimed, the man might win a cash prize.

On Dec. 2, the man received a letter in the mail stating he won the “consumer’s promotional draw” and a check in the amount of $4970.80. The letter advised him, however, that he needed to send a check totaling $4,775.90 for a “Non-Canadian residential tax” payment.

The following day, he contacted the “claim agent” listed in the letter and was told to wire the money to two addresses in Seattle, which he did.

On Dec. 7, the victim tried to use his debit card, but was notified his account was overdrawn. When he contacted his bank, the victim was told the check he had tried to deposit was fraudulent and subsequent attempts to reach the “claim agent” were unsuccessful.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments from Dec. 14 to Dec. 20 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.

– Compiled by Bob Uphues