A 30-year-old Riverside man faces a felony battery charge after he reportedly hit an off-duty Brookfield police officer over the head with a dinner plate outside a Brookfield bar on March 12.

Brookfield police claim that the off-duty officer confronted Marko A. Peraica and a friend outside Irish Times Bar, 8869 Burlington Ave., just after midnight on March 12. The officer reported that the two crossed Prairie Avenue from another bar and knocked over a sign outside Irish Times.

The pair went into the bar and came out a few minutes later. When the officer told them to pick up the sign, an altercation ensued. During the altercation, Peraica reportedly struck the officer on the head with a dinner plate taken from Irish Times. The blow opened a gash on the police officer’s head and caused a mild concussion, according to the report. He was taken to a local hospital for stitches and X-rays.

Meanwhile, police reported recovering a white ceramic dinner plate and a wine glass from Peraica’s coat pocket. In addition to battery, Peraica was also charged with theft.

Just prior to knocking over the sign, Peraica and his companion were reportedly involved in some type of altercation at Cheer’s Sports Bar and Grill, 8901 Burlington Ave., police said.

Peraica’s companion, a 30-year-old Brookfield man, was not charged.

Riverside cops report break-ins

The vehicle burglaries have apparently cooled, but Riverside police reported last week that two garages were broken into.

Both calls came in on March 13. The first was just after midnight, when a resident of the first block of Kimbark Road reported that several power tools and various hand tools were taken from his garage. A neighbor notified the victim that the overhead garage door was open. Upon closer inspection, police found that the garage’s side service door had been kicked in.

A resident of the 200 block of Nuttall Road called police that afternoon. She told police that someone had pried open the service door to the garage, but nothing appeared to be missing. She was not sure when the break-in took place because she was out of town for several days prior, according to police.

Employee charged with refund fraud

A former North Riverside Park Mall photo studio employee faces felony theft charges after he reportedly processed 16 fraudulent refunds between Dec. 14, 2010 and March 1, 2011 and pocketed the cash, North Riverside police reported last week.

Gary A. Winston, 33, of Chicago, worked at a photo portrait studio inside J.C. Penney at the mall, 7501 Cermak Road. On Feb. 28, Winston’s supervisor noted two refunds bearing Winston’s employee ID number. The supervisor called in a Penney’s loss-prevention agent, who found 14 more refunds Winston allegedly authorized. In all, the refunds totaled $735.92.

According to police, Winston admitted taking cash from four of the refunds because he was having “financial problems.”

Another dead chicken

A week after Riverside police reported finding four decapitated chicken inside a beer box in Swan Pond Park near the Des Plaines River, North Riverside police reported a similar incident – this time in a local cemetery.

An officer patrolling Waldheim Cemetery, 1700 Harlem Ave., noticed a torn plastic bag lying behind a tombstone. Upon closer inspection, the officer found that the bag contained a dead chicken and some torn clothing.

Both of the incidents are believed to be connected to Santeria, a religion with roots in Africa and the Caribbean, which sometimes employs animal sacrifice in its rituals.

Copper taken from business

Someone may have cut through a chain link fence to gain access to the storage yard at Nick’s Metal Fabrication, 9132 W. 47th St., and steal about 400 feet of copper wire, valued at approximately $2,000.

The business owner on March 9 noticed that the chain link fence had been severed in one spot. A neighbor reportedly told police that he saw someone in a white truck climb the fence to steal equipment in the past month.

No gunshots, just busted windows

Brookfield police received a call just after midnight on March 10 reporting four or five gunshots in the 4600 block of Madison Avenue.

When police arrived, they found a 2007 Toyota Matrix whose windshield had been smacked four times by a blunt object. The vehicle’s side window was also smashed out and two tires punctured.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, March 7-13, 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