By BOB UPHUES
A San Francisco man wearing a bulletproof vest, carrying $24,000 in cash and spouting conspiracy theories about government-controlled lights and an FBI contract on his life remained under observation at MacNeal Hospital on Monday after being arrested by Riverside police outside St. Mary School on Nov. 4.
Police charged Jeffrey Waiman Wo, 41, with disorderly conduct after alarming a volunteer parent and the principal of St. Mary School, when he reportedly walked onto the property during recess and asked to get a tour of the building.
Wo also reportedly told police he had toured other school buildings in the surrounding area, specifically in Brookfield.
According to Weitzel, Wo was in possession of photos of what appeared to be rooms inside a school building and a church. Brookfield police confirmed that they have received copies of the photos and that they are investigating the matter.
Brookfield Police Lt. James Episcopo declined to disclose any details about that ongoing investigation.
According to St. Mary Principal Barbara Rasinski, Wo never gained entry to the building. Recess was ending at about the time Wo showed up and students were already leaving the playground, she said.
A parent volunteer who initially confronted Wo as he entered school property “got a funny feeling” when she approached him, said Rasinski, and immediately notified the principal.
“We made sure the kids were inside, and I talked him off the playground,” said Rasinski.
School staff called police at about 12:40 p.m., according to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, and an officer detained Wo as he was exiting the school’s parking lot near East Burlington Street. That’s when police noticed Wo was wearing a bulletproof vest, and they immediately handcuffed him and searched him for weapons.
According to Weitzel, Wo was not armed and claimed he was wearing the bulletproof vest as protection against the FBI, with whom Wo said he was once employed and which now was trying to kill him.
Wo reportedly gave police names of FBI agents he had worked with in the past. Police contacted the FBI and learned Wo was never an employee and that the agent names he gave police were not listed in the FBI’s database.
Police searched a satchel Wo was carrying and discovered plane tickets, receipts and other documents that showed Wo had flown from San Francisco to Midway Airport about a week earlier. He made his way to Union Station in downtown Chicago and then hopped a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe line Metra train, getting off in Riverside.
He apparently walked to the 8600 block of Ogden Avenue in Lyons, where he checked into a room at the Rodeway Inn.
Police also discovered $24,000 in cash in one of Wo’s pockets and a check made out to Wo for $6,500, apparently from a family member. He reportedly had no explanation for carrying so much cash.
According to Weitzel, he told police that on multiple occasions he had come to Chicago from San Francisco to investigate government-controlled lights that were to be found “inside of old buildings.”
Wo also reportedly told police he came to this state specifically because Illinois was home to President Barack Obama. Weitzel said Wo never made any threats against the president and was cooperative with police during their investigation.
He added that Wo has no criminal record. In addition to notifying the FBI, Riverside police also contacted the U.S. Secret Service and forwarded them a copy of the Riverside police incident report.
Riverside police involuntarily admitted Wo to MacNeal Hospital for a medical evaluation based on “his unstable verbal statements and actions which took place throughout his entire custody with the Riverside Police Department.”
Police were able to reach Wo’s sister, who reportedly was “appreciative” of Riverside’s efforts. Family members will be flying to Chicago this week to, according to Weitzel, “work out whatever needs to be handled.”
Weitzel noted that wearing a bulletproof vest is not itself a crime unless the person is armed and in the commission of a crime. Police confiscated the vest and Wo’s money, but Weitzel said police must return those items to him once he’s released from the hospital.