Nearly one year to the day after he walked into Grumpy’s Café in Riverside and robbed the manager of cash, Cesar Vazquez was found guilty of robbery by Judge Thomas Tucker in a bench trial at the Maybrook courthouse on March 26.

After more than an hour of testimony by witnesses, the victim and Vazquez himself, Tucker wasn’t buying the defense’s contention that Vazquez was a victim of mistaken identity and that he was actually in Joliet at the time of the March 31, 2009 robbery.

Vazquez, 22, who has been jailed since last April and has an unrelated Berwyn robbery charge pending against him, will be back in court on April 29, at which time he may be sentenced.

Vazquez, a Berwyn resident, was initially charged with armed robbery, a Class X felony, by the Cook County State’s Attorney. Assistant State’s Attorney Richard Albanese surmised after the trial that Tucker chose the lesser ruling because investigators were unable to recover a weapon. Vazquez faces a prison sentence of between three and five years for the Class 2 felony conviction. He is being held without bond at Cook County Jail.

The defense attempted to discredit the victim’s description of the man who robbed her, pointing out inconsistencies between observations she made to a police sketch artist and Vazquez’s appearance.

Vazquez’s girlfriend and her mother also testified that Vazquez was at their home in Joliet at the time the robbery occurred. However, Tucker apparently wasn’t buying the alibi. The two witnesses had not come forward prior to the day of the trial to intercede on Vazquez’s behalf.

Albanese also pointed out that the victim had “instantly” identified Vazquez as the robber on two occasions, first in a photo lineup and then in a physical lineup after his arrest on April 10, 2009.

Kidnapping suspects indicted

Two Chicago men, each facing two counts of kidnapping for attempting to avenge a previous burglary of a family member’s apartment in Riverside in February, were indicted by a Cook County grand jury during a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on March 26.

Trini Morado, 38, and his nephew, Steven Morado, 22, will face arraignment on April 16. Attorneys for the two men requested that their $500,000 bonds be lowered, but that was denied pending the April hearing.

The indictment alleges that on Feb. 26 the Morados and a 14-year-old relative kidnapped two teenage boys to lead them to a 15-year-old Riverside resident they suspected of burglarizing an apartment where their relatives lived.

Police apprehended the men near the 15-year-old’s home in the 200 block of East Burlington Street after several neighbors called 911 to report a disturbance in the area.

The 14-year-old relative was also charged with kidnapping. His case is being handled through Cook County Juvenile Court. Their 15-year-old intended target was charged with burglary and felony drug offenses. Police reported finding items taken in the Feb. 25 break-in of a Riverside apartment on East Burlington Street in downtown Riverside, in a bedroom of the 15-year-old’s home. In addition, police found cannabis and prescription drugs unrelated to the burglary.

Riverside police key Lyons drug bust

Timothy M. Landrey, 24, of Lyons appeared in bond court Monday after being arrested by officers from Riverside and the West Suburban Directed Gang Enforcement task force and charged with three drug-related offenses. A judge set his bond at $10,000.

Riverside police developed a confidential informant and arranged drug buys, allegedly from Landrey, on several occasions, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

Riverside police obtained a search warrant for Landrey’s home in the 4200 block of Prescott Avenue and officers executed the warrant on March 26 at about 11 a.m. Landrey was taken into custody at the scene. Police reported finding 184 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He was charged with possession of cannabis, possession of cannabis with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to police Landrey has been a Lyons resident for two years. During that time he has allegedly sold drugs on numerous occasions from his home and has also made drug deals, primarily involving marijuana, in the west suburbs, including Riverside.

Vandals target Commons Park

North Riverside police reported that vandals defaced Village Commons Park, 2401 Desplaines Ave., with a barrage of gang-related graffiti during the overnight hours of March 28 and 29.

Public Works employees discovered on Monday morning that many signs, structures and other objects were tagged by vandals using magic markers. They apparently worked their way west from Hainsworth Avenue, hitting signs at each cul-de-sac, both gazebos, and small wooden bridge. Three large landscaping boulders were placed on the sledding hill.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments from March 22 to March 29 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