Busy holiday weekend for local cops

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said his department responded to 191 calls and made more than 15 arrests related to criminal, drunken driving and other traffic offenses during the July 3-6 holiday weekend.

Most of the incidents police responded to, said Weitzel, were alcohol-related, and Riverside police reported making five DUI arrests during the weekend.

One of the more bizarre incidents of the weekend came on Friday, July 4 about 4:30 p.m., when several people called 911 to report a disturbance in front of Riverside-Brookfield High School, 160 Ridgewood Road.

Police arrived on the scene to find a 25-year-old Chicago man and two children lying injured on the ground in front of the school. According to Riverside police, the man had been at Brookfield Zoo with the children and his 34-year-old girlfriend during the day.

While leaving, the man and woman got into an argument, which resulted in the woman parking the car in the middle of the intersection at Ridgewood and Golf roads and throwing her boyfriend out of the car.

As she slammed the car door behind him, the woman reportedly closed the car door on the hand of the man’s 5-year-old daughter. Her boyfriend then grabbed the keys to the car and, carrying his 2-year-old daughter in his arms, ran from the vehicle.

She reportedly chased him down in front of the school and shoved him to the ground, causing him to drop the child and injuring the man’s shoulder. The child was injured when she fell onto the sidewalk in front of the school.

A third child, a 4-year-old girl, who belonged to the woman was not harmed and remained inside the vehicle. The woman snatched the keys from the man and reportedly drove away to her home in Bolingbrook.

Police arrested the woman at the Bolingbrook beauty shop where she works on July 5. She was charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic battery and one count of endangering the life of a child. Riverside police sought felony charges against the woman, who has been arrested multiple times for domestic battery in the past, but the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office declined to upgrade the charges to felony status.

Stray bullet hits car

A 76-year-old North Riverside man called police on the morning of July 5 after he noticed that during the overnight hours there was what appeared to be a half-inch-diameter bullet hole in the hood of his 1996 Buick Roadmaster, parked in the 2400 block of Westover Avenue.

Police reported locating a .30-caliber rifle round in the engine compartment of the vehicle under the inner fender. The damage could have occurred late July 4, said the owner of the vehicle, since it was parked near 8th Avenue and 26th Street until about 9:30 p.m. that night. 

Concealing a fugitive

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office on June 30 approved a pair of felony charges against a 24-year-old Chicago woman accused of helping a man, who was wanted for leading a car chase through a middle school track meet, to evade capture by police for more than a month.

Celeste Martinez is charged with obstruction of justice and concealing a fugitive. Brookfield police took Martinez into custody at her home in the 3900 block of Campbell Avenue, Chicago, after receiving a copy of an incident report from police in Blytheville, Arkansas.

According to that report, Martinez was a registered occupant of a room at the Days Inn in Blytheville along with Jason Bentley, who was arrested, May 20, by the FBI and extradited to Brookfield. Martinez was in the hotel room when Bentley was arrested, according to police.

At the same time, Blytheville police turned over a CD of audio recordings of 24 phone calls between Bentley, who was being held in the Mississippi County Detention Center awaiting extradition, and Martinez between May 21 and 27.

According to police, Bentley and Martinez discussed his fleeing police, hitting other cars during the chase and how Martinez unsuccessfully tried to clean everything out of the car that police could link to Bentley.

Bentley remains in Cook County Jail awaiting an Aug. 1 court date. He faces a host of felony and misdemeanor charges related to the April 15 incident in Brookfield.

Woman reportedly forged checks

Countryside resident Teresa Bravo, 50, faces one felony charge of forgery after she reportedly stole nearly $50,000 from a Brookfield business by writing unauthorized checks, which she then deposited into her bank account.

Bravo turned herself in to Brookfield police on July 2, following an investigation that began with company officials in April.

On April 24, the president of Hammer Express Inc., 9100 Plainfield Road, told Brookfield police that the company’s accountant had identified several checks dating back to 2011 that were made out to Bravo and bore what appeared to be forged signatures. The total amount of the checks in question was for $48,682.

When confronted about the checks at that time, Bravo reportedly denied forging the checks before saying she forged the checks to pay for college and medical expenses for family members.

On May 15, Brookfield police obtained a grand jury subpoena of Bravo’s banking records and reportedly confirmed that the checks in question had been deposited into her account.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved the felony charge against Bravo on July 2.

Stabbing victim flags down cop

A Riverside police officer was conducting a routine traffic stop on Harlem Avenue near Addison Road on July 1 at around 11:30 a.m. when a Chevy Suburban hastily pulled over and a female passenger got out, saying that her husband — who was driving the Suburban — had been stabbed.

The police officer, with the help of the woman he had pulled over — because she spoke Spanish — was able to determine that the 53-year-old man driving the Suburban had been stabbed on right side of his abdomen while walking his dog at the Miller Meadow forest preserve on First Avenue, across the street from Loyola University Medical Center. The victim reportedly told police he didn’t go directly to Loyola because he didn’t want his assailant to follow him there.

As paramedics attended to the stabbing victim, police called another ambulance for his 52-year-old wife, who complained of feeling faint. Both were taken to Loyola Medical Center.

Police said the victim sustained a 6-inch long, 1-inch deep wound to his abdomen. The victim also provided police with a description of the offender.

A Cook County Forest Preserve District police officer located a suspect matching the description. The suspect reportedly carried a large, fold-out Buck knife. The victim reportedly identified the suspect as the person who attacked him.

Information about possible charges against the subject were not immediately available from the Cook County Sheriff’s Police.

Car wheels stolen

Brookfield and North Riverside police reported a total of three incidents on July 6 in which someone either stole or tied to steal wheels from parked vehicles.

In North Riverside, someone removed the two rear tires from a 2002 Buick parked in a driveway in the 9000 block of 23rd Street, leaving the rear axle on cinder blocks. In Brookfield, the driver’s side wheels were taken from a 2000 Buick Regal parked in the 9400 block of Monroe Avenue. The axles were left on concrete blocks.

An attempt to remove wheels off another car on that same block failed, police said. 

White powder in locker

Riverside police and fire personnel responded to Riverside-Brookfield High School, 160 Ridgewood Road, just after noon on June 30 after a maintenance employee reported finding white powder in a pink zip-top baggie inside a student locker.

A Hazmat crew from the Forestview Fire Department tested the powder, which turned out to be acetaminophen — the drug used in Tylenol.

Police later talked with the student to whom the locker was assigned during the school year. The student said he cleaned out his locker completely at the end of the school year and had no idea how the powder got inside the locker.

Vehicle break-ins

Just a week after police arrested three people believed to be involved in a rash of vehicle burglaries, North Riverside continued to experience break-ins to vehicles last week.

North Riverside police reported five burglaries to vehicles between June 30 and July 6. Three of the vehicles burglarized were unlocked.

  • On June 30, someone broke into an unlocked 2000 Chevy SUV parked in the lot at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, and removed a black leather purse containing a passport, birth certificate and a cellphone.

  • On July 4, someone entered a 2011 Chevy Malibu, probably unlocked, which was parked in the North Riverside Park Mall lot, and removed a radar detector, sunglasses a bottle of cologne, two cellphone charger cords and a car key.

  • Someone broke into an unlocked Ford pickup truck parked in the 2400 block of Burr Oak Avenue and removed the radio from the dashboard on July 6.

  • On July 2, the owner of a 2001 Ford Expedition called to report that someone had smashed out the vent window of the vehicle, which was parked in the lot by Burlington Coat Factory, 2208 Harlem Ave., and stole the vehicle’s in-dash stereo/GPS unit.

  • On July 5, someone smashed out the passenger side window of a 2001 Chevy Tahoe parked in the 8700 block of Cermak Road and removed two stereo speakers and a three-ton jack.

Car windows smashed

Brookfield police reported on July 6 that three vehicles parked on the street on the village’s south end had windows broken, though no attempt was made apparently to burglarize the vehicles.

The incidents, which involved a 2009 Ford Escape in the 9500 block of Shields Avenue, a 2001 Subaru Forrester in the 4400 block of DuBois Boulevard and a 1998 Saturn station wagon in the 4300 block of DuBois Boulevard, reportedly all occurred during the overnight hours. 

Six bottles of vodka

Paramedics took a 53-year-old North Riverside to LaGrange Memorial Hospital on June 30 after the owner of the Colony Motel, 9232 Ogden Ave., Brookfield, called police to report that a motel guest refused to leave the premises.

The woman reportedly had been dropped off at the motel on the morning of June 29 and had paid for one night’s stay. She was supposed to check out at 11 a.m., but remained inside the room. Police received permission from the owner to enter the room, where they found the woman in conscious, but highly intoxicated, in the bed. They also reported finding six empty vodka bottles in the room.

Issues with animals

  • Brookfield police reported that a 61-year-old Brookfield woman was walking a friend’s small dog in the 3300 block of Grand Boulevard at about 11:50 a.m. on July 4 when two tan pit bulls charged at her and the small dog, which slipped out of its leash and ran away.

An unknown person was able to catch the small dog return it. Police traced the two pit bulls to a residence in the 3300 block of Madison Avenue. The owner told police that the dogs were outside going to the bathroom when they ran out of the unfenced yard after the woman and her dog.

Police cited the pit bull owner for having dogs at large.

  • The owner of the Marathon Gas Station, 8856 Ogden Ave. in Brookfield, called police on June 30 at about 4:55 p.m. to report a stubborn woodchuck that couldn’t be coaxed to leave the area near the entrance of the station’s mini-mart.

Police were able to capture the woodchuck and transport it to the woods near 27th Street and Forest Avenue, where it was released.

Bike theft

A 41-year-old Riverside woman contacted police on July 2 after discovering that her son’s gray Mongoose bicycle had been taken from the unlocked garage of her home in the 100 block of Michaux Road.

According to the police report, the bike was stolen sometime between noon on June 27 and 2:30 p.m. on June 28. 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, June 30-July 6, 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