Riverside police and a Brookfield police officer who lives in Riverside teamed up earlier this week to track and apprehend a man they say was stealing from his neighbors inside an apartment complex in downtown Riverside.
Ronald O. Belousek, 38, was charged Thursday by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office with four counts of burglary. Belousek appeared in court Friday, where a judge set his bond at $50,000.
Police arrested Belousek on Jan. 29 at 8:40 a.m. as he drove from his home in the building at 63 Forest Ave., where three burglaries and one attempted break-in had been reported between Dec. 25, 2013 and Jan. 28. A separate burglary was also reported during that time period at an apartment complex next door, at 22 East Ave.
Because there was no sign of forced entry to the apartment units, police believed that the suspect may have obtained keys to the units. One of the burglaries reported within the past month was to the management office at 63 Forest Ave.
On Jan. 28, a woman called police after a man attempted to enter her apartment using a key. He couldn’t gain entry, because the apartment’s door was chained, and he fled when the woman appeared at the door. She told police he ran out of the building and entered a white SUV, which drove off east.
That same night, police confronted Belousek outside the apartment building. Earlier that day a Brookfield police officer who lives on Forest Avenue volunteered to set up a surveillance camera to monitor the outside of the apartment building.
The camera was connected to an iPad used for undercover operations by Riverside police. In the event of any activity outside the building, the camera would send a notification to Riverside police.
When Belousek parked his white SUV out front that night, the camera relayed a message to the iPad, and police responded to the building. They confronted Belousek who denied any involvement in that night’s incident and refused to let police inside his apartment.
After his run-in with police that night, according to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, Belousek told tenants of the building they should start a neighborhood watch program because of the burglaries — and to put him in charge of it, because he had a concealed carry license.
Police arrested Belousek the next morning and reportedly obtained permission to search the apartment, which he reportedly shared with a woman, who was the lease-holder. They reportedly found several items taken from units burglarized in 63 Forest Ave. and 22 East Ave.
Many other items had been sold on Craigslist and at flea markets, said Weitzel. Belousek also had visited the Lyons Post Office on several occasions to mail small and large packages to an address in Florida.
Belousek was well-known to Weitzel, who had many encounters with him years ago, when Belousek was a juvenile and young adult who lived on East Quincy Street.
“I hadn’t and the department hadn’t seen or heard from him in quite a while,” said Weitzel.
Riverside police last ran into Belousek on April 21, 2013, just after a major flood in the area. Police responded to the Des Plaines River opposite Groveland Avenue for a report of three people on a rubber raft in the river. When police arrived they found Belousek in the water. He was pulled out and treated by paramedics at the scene, refusing further treatment, said Weitzel.
Weitzel said Belousek has an extensive criminal history, including 20 prior arrests for incidents ranging from weapons offenses to theft and drug offenses. He was last arrested by Lyons police in July 2013 for theft, said Weitzel.