In the wake of the village experiencing its third street robbery in the past month, Brookfield police are warning kids to be alert on the streets and are asking parents to talk with their children at home about personal safety.

On April 27, the village of Brookfield sent out an email blast to residents who subscribe to the village’s email alert feed, a day after the latest robbery involving a teenage victim wearing headphones.

The email alert, from Police Chief Steven Stelter, advises kids to walk in groups, to avoid secluded areas like alleys, and to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If wearing headphones, the chief stated, keep the volume low enough to be able to hear what’s going on around you.

The chief also suggested avoiding the display of expensive items. In the Brookfield incidents, the items stolen were actually not being displayed. But the headphones were a giveaway.

Brookfield Lt. Edward Petrak said that police have contacted both Riverside-Brookfield and Lyons Township high schools, and both he and Riverside Detective Sgt. David Krull said police have stepped up patrols in the areas around local schools.

Petrak said officers have talked with teens walking around town, warning them of the robberies and have reached out to the village’s auxiliary police force to increase patrols in the evening.

Brookfield has also enlisted the help of the west suburban Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT), said Petrak, which includes more than a dozen police agencies in the Chicago suburbs.

“You live in a safe area, but you’ve still got to be on guard,” said Petrak.

About 4 p.m. on April 26, a teenager wearing headphones while walking down a Brookfield street was robbed. It was the third such incident since March 26, and police believe at least two of the incidents may be related.

In the most recent incident, police say a 15-year-old Brookfield boy was walking down the sidewalk when he was approached by a man on a bicycle, who asked the boy for directions to the Memorial Circle and whether he knew a girl named “Kay.”

Wary of the man, the boy ducked into a nearby alley to avoid him, but the man followed him. Suddenly the man on the bike stated he had a gun and demanded the boy’s iPod, which was in his pocket. The boy handed over the device, and the man left the area on his bike. Police said the man never displayed a weapon.

The man appears to have targeted the victim because at the time of the incident the boy was wearing ear buds attached to the iPod in his pocket. The man also apparently followed the boy for a time before robbing him. The boy told police that he first noticed the man on the bike on Fairview Avenue just after parting ways with a friend.

Police said the offender was described as a black male with a thin build and short black hair, about 20 years old, wearing a navy blue jacket and blue jeans. He was riding a navy blue mountain bike with white lettering on it.

On April 22, two boys who were skateboarding near the corner of Southview and Prairie avenues were robbed by three men in a car. One of the victims, a 16-year-old boy, had headphones on. One of the offenders pulled a gun on the boy wearing the headphones and demanded his iPhone.

In that incident, the offenders also asked for directions and asked the victims if they knew someone named “Kate,” leading police to surmise that the two incidents are related.

The village of Broadview also reported a similar incident last week, Brookfield police said.

Meanwhile, three men accosted a group of youths in Brookfield on March 26, targeting the one who was wearing headphones. The teen was beaten and his iPhone taken from him. Three people have been charged with robbery in connection with that incident.

Anyone with information about either of the two latest incidents is asked to call the Brookfield police at 708-485-8131. To sign up for the village’s eNews Alert list, visit the village’s website at www.brookfieldil.gov and provide an email address on the home page.

Brookfield robbery victim changes his story

A 15-year-old Brookfield boy, who claimed he was robbed by a man on a bike in the 3800 block of Park Avenue on April 26, told police yesterday that he lied about the time and location of the incident.

Brookfield Police Lt. James Episcopo told the Landmark on Wednesday morning that the boy and his father came to the police department Tuesday afternoon to relate the new information.

According to Episcopo, the boy is still claiming he was robbed of his iPod by a man who approached him on a bike and indicated he had a gun. However, Episcopo said, the boy now claims the incident occurred on April 22 and happened in the forest preserve area west of 17th Avenue north of 26th Street.

"It happened somewhere else where he was not supposed to be," said Episcopo.

The boy apparently was afraid he would be in trouble with his parents if they learned the phone was stolen in an area they had told him to avoid. So on his way home from school on April 26, Episcopo said, the boy came up with the plan to claim he was robbed in the middle of Brookfield.

Episcopo said the boy maintained the rest of the details about the robbery were accurate.

Brookfield police have not yet decided what disciplinary action, if any, to take against the boy for filing a false report.

Police are also investigating another April 22 robbery, which reportedly occurred near the intersection of Southview and Prairie avenues in Brookfield. Police initially believed the two incidents might be related because the victims claimed the offenders first asked for directions and asked if the victims knew a female named "Kay" or "Kate."

In the Southview and Prairie incident the two victims said that one of the three offenders pulled out a gun before demanding an iPhone one of the boys was carrying.