Chicago resident Valente R. Contreras, 22, did more than just cut the grass at a foreclosed property in Riverside this summer. According to Riverside police, he also helped himself to high-end bicycles, power tools and other items stored in the garage and then got rid of the loot when he learned police were on his tail.
On Aug. 14, police tracked down Contreras with the help of the property management company that hired the lawn service firm that employed Contreras. After his arrest, he reportedly confessed to police that he stole the items from the garage of a home in the 100 block of Akenside Road on July 12 and July 23.
Neighbors reportedly identified Contreras in a photo lineup as the man from the lawn service who went into the garage on two different occasions.
He stored the stolen items at locations in Joliet and Plainfield where his employer also had contracts for lawn service, said police. Once he realized police suspected he stole the items, Contreras disposed of them, said police. However, he would not tell police where or how he rid himself of the items.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved one count of residential burglary against Contreras and investigators continue to investigate the case, including obtaining search warrants for the properties in Plainfield and Joliet and Contreras’ Chicago home.
A little too neighborly
A 49-year-old Brookfield woman was charged twice last week with disorderly conduct after repeatedly disturbing a neighbor – on one occasion only partially clothed – in her apartment building in the 3600 block of Arden Avenue in Brookfield.
The neighbor first called police on Aug. 13 at 11:30 a.m. after the woman was standing in the courtyard wearing only panties and an open black top, yelling for the landlord. At 5:30 that morning, the neighbor told police the woman was naked and knocking on his door and those of other tenants in the building.
Police went to the woman’s apartment where they reported finding her clothed as described by the neighbor and highly intoxicated. They warned her to stop disturbing the peace and left.
A half hour later, the woman, still clothed only in panties and an open top, was knocking on the door of the neighbor’s apartment. Police took her into custody and charged her with disorderly conduct.
On Aug. 14 about 1:15 p.m., police were back at the apartment complex. At 6 a.m., the woman asked her neighbor if she could use his phone. He let her make a call. But seven hours later, she was back, asking to use his phone every five minutes, according to the police report. Police told the woman not to bother her neighbor anymore or else she would be arrested.
But on Aug. 16 at 7:30 a.m., the neighbor called police again after the woman appeared at his back door and began knocking on it non-stop, saying she needed to use the phone.
Police entered the neighbor’s apartment through the front door and heard someone knocking on the back door. They opened it to find the woman standing there. They arrested her and charged her with disorderly conduct.
Alleged thief caught on camera
The man who allegedly stole 20 cans of an energy drink from a Riverside convenience store earlier this month initially got away with the deed. But five days later he was in Riverside’s lockup, thanks to video surveillance footage which clearly showed the offender’s face – one familiar, it turns out, to Riverside police.
John F. Rodriguez walked into the 7-Eleven at 2600 Harlem Ave. about 10 p.m. on Aug. 8 and allegedly stole the energy drinks, which he would reportedly sell at mom-and-pop stores in Cicero and Chicago to get money to fuel a drug habit.
After looking at the video footage from inside and outside the store, police recognized the alleged offender as someone they had arrested before. On Aug. 13, officers were on their way to Rodriguez’s last known address in Cicero when they spotted him riding a bicycle near the intersection of Cermak Road and Cicero Avenue.
The store clerk reportedly positively identified Rodriguez as the man who stole the drinks. Rodriguez is being held at Cook County Jail with his bond set at $20,000.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Aug. 13-20, 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