A burglary blitz that Riverside’s police chief says has “decimated” Riverside, North Riverside and Berwyn since January has been brought low by a suspicious citizen and fast work by local cops. Now the charges are piling up against five Cicero men, three of whom have admitted gang affiliations.

Since the April 27 arrest of Fernando Orozco, 18; Charles Cordero, 20; and a 17-year-old juvenile, police in all three towns have brought a range of charges. More recently, two other men were arrested and have been charged. Orozco has been charged with nine counts of residential burglary and is being held on a $50,000 bond. The juvenile faces three charges and is being held on $40,000 bond. And Cordero is facing five charges and is being held on a $22,000 bond. The two other suspects face single counts of residential burglary. Additionally one is charged with unlawful use of a credit card.

So far, the crew is linked to 13 residential burglaries since January.

Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel called this the largest burglary arrest the department has had in quite some time.

Three suspects were apprehended in a “high risk” traffic stop at Oak Park Avenue and 30th Place in Berwyn on April 27. A fourth was apprehended later that day based on descriptions given by the first three.

The arrests occurred after a Riverside resident tipped off the police to a suspicious incident that occurred at his home on the 300 block of Fairbank Rd. in the late morning of April 27.

Steve Campbell said a man rang his doorbell and when Campbell responded from an upstairs window, the man asked for a person who did not live at the residence. As Campbell continued to ask questions, the suspect began to leave his property.

“It was very much out of place,” said Campbell of the incident. “He didn’t belong here.”

Weitzel said the incident fit the pattern of 13 other burglaries. He said that the suspects would knock on doors to determine if residents were home before committing the burglaries. If someone answered the door, they would ask for someone who didn’t live at the home.

After the suspect left his home, Campbell immediately called the police and offered a description. Thirteen minutes after the attempted robbery, the first three suspects were apprehended in a coordinated effort between Riverside, North Riverside, Berwyn, and Lyons police departments.

“Mr. Campbell gave us a fantastic description. He called us immediately. He didn’t wait,” said Weitzel.

The suspects gave written statements admitting to the burglaries. Police searched three Cicero homes on April 27, and recovered 131 pieces of stolen property, including flat screen televisions, laptop computers, jewelry, and more.

The police chief credited his department, Campbell, and the other nearby departments which participated in the apprehension with helping to finally nab the serial burglars.

“From my perspective, it was excellent work by everyone,” he said.

Nick Moroni and Bob Uphues contributed reporting to this story.