Cops: Employees robbed of cash at mall

Two female employees of a shoe store at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, reported they were robbed at gunpoint of about $10,000 in cash from their place of employment as they walked to deposit the money in a depository just inside the lower-level parking deck entrance of the mall, Nov. 29 about 7:45 a.m.

Neither woman, a 22-year-old from Oak Park and a 23-year-old from Hillside, was injured during the incident.

The Oak Park woman told police she observed the offender as she walked into the mall entrance around 7:35 a.m. At that time, she walked past him to her place of employment, where she was joined shortly afterward by the Hillside woman.

According to the Oak Park woman, she performed duties related to opening the store. About five minutes later, the two employees left the store carrying two bags filled with cash, which they placed inside a large purse.

As they walked toward the depository, the offender reportedly approached them, displayed a small metal handgun and put it into the Hillside woman’s side. The woman reportedly began screaming and the offender grabbed the purse.

At that time a male security agent opened the door and the offender reportedly pretended that he was a relative of one of the women and was angry at her for not coming home the night before. Believing it to be a domestic situation, the security agent reportedly then left the area, put the subjects under video surveillance and called police.

The offender reportedly led the women out the entrance door, allegedly hitting one of them in the head with his forearm. He allegedly directed them to sit down next to a garage pillar before he walked away southbound through the parking garage.

One of the victims called police to report the robbery shortly after police received the initial call about a possible domestic situation from the security agent.

The video surveillance footage showed that the offender arrived at the mall at 7:27 a.m. and parked a dark-colored vehicle in the upper deck of the parking structure near J.C. Penney.

He is seen going into the lower deck and entering the mall less than a minute before the Oak Park woman and about a minute before the Hillside woman. Six minutes later, the offender can be seen leading the victims out of the mall entrance into the lower parking deck.

 

Pizza delivery man robbed

A 34-year-old delivery driver for a Berwyn pizza place reported he was robbed in his vehicle after making a delivery to a home in the 2300 block of Westover Avenue in North Riverside on Nov. 30 about 6:30 p.m.

The man told police he observed two men standing in the gangway between two homes as he was walking from his vehicle to make the delivery. While walking back to his car, one of the men told the delivery man to “give me all your money” and then opened the passenger side door and removed cash and receipts from the center console before both men fled eastbound through backyards.

The driver then went back to the home where he delivered the pizza and asked to use their phone to call police.

A witness reported seeing a vehicle leave the alley between the 2300 blocks of Burr Oak and Westover avenues at a high rate of speed. Police later detained two men in a vehicle matching the description of the one seen fleeing the scene. However, the victim told police neither was involved in the robbery.

 

Three sentenced for Riverside burglary

The three men arrested in March for burglarizing a residence in the 3500 block of Harlem Avenue, Riverside, pleaded guilty at separate court hearings in October and November.

Both Antonio Lemus, 21, of Berwyn, and Julio Guzman, 18, of Chicago, were sentenced to six years in state prison for their roles in the burglary. Damien Romero, 18, of Chicago, who drove the getaway car, was sentenced to 18 months’ felony probation.

Judge Geary Kull handled all of the cases at the Maybrook courthouse in Maywood.

 

Burglary

  • A resident of the 300 block of North Delaplaine Road, Riverside, contacted police on Nov. 30 to report that someone had stolen between $20,000 and $30,000 worth of jewelry from a bedroom dresser while he and his family were at church.

The victim told police the family was gone from the home between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. The back door had been left unlocked, police said, and there were no signs of forced entry. Other valuables, including watches and laptop computers were untouched.

  • North Riverside police responded to a residence in the 2200 block of 7th Avenue on Nov. 26 after one of the residents claimed a family member had just stolen jewelry and a piggy bank containing several hundred dollars from an upstairs bedroom.

Police are also investigating an incident at that same residence last week in which jewelry was reported missing.

  • A resident of the 4000 block of Forest Avenue, Brookfield, reported that during the overnight hours of Nov. 29-30 someone had stolen a Cd holder containing 20 CDs and loose change from the center console and glove box of her 2007 GMC SUV, which was parked on the street.

There were no signs of forced entry to the vehicle, police said.

 

Package stolen from porch

A resident of the 4500 block of Maple Avenue, Brookfield, called police to report that between 2:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 28 someone removed a gift package containing various board games from her front porch.

The victim said she had received email notification that the package had been delivered, but when she went to check for the package later that day, it was nowhere to be found.

 

Attempted scam

Multiple North Riverside residents, including an 80-year-old man, contacted police on Nov. 26 to report that they were receiving suspicious telephone calls with an automated message claiming that they owed the IRS between $1,000 and $5,000.

Police notified the residents that the calls were part of a scam and then sent out a Code red message to all residents warning them to be aware of the scam.

 

Beating at mall

North Riverside police say that a 27-year-old Chicago man was punched and kicked by four to five “large, muscular” subjects in the lower-level common area of the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, after he exchanged words with another man on Nov. 27 at about 10:44 p.m.

The victim said he exchanged words with another man, who responded by punching him in the face. The victim fell to the floor and the other subjects struck him until mall security arrived.

The subjects fled the area before police arrived. No one was arrested.

 

Felony drug possession

Brookfield police charged Broadview resident Tusain A. Collins, 22, with possession of a controlled substance, which is a felony, and other offenses after making a routine traffic stop in the 3400 block of Grand Boulevard on Nov. 28 at 8:55 p.m.

A police officer reported that the owner of the 2004 Honda Accord making its way around the Memorial Circle was listed as having a revoked license, prompting the stop. Collins reportedly confirmed to the officer that the vehicle was his and he was arrested for driving while revoked.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle, police reported finding a small open bottle of cognac, a wood-handled pocket knife with a blade longer than three inches and a cannabis grinder.

Police also reported finding five white pills, later determined to be hydrocodone, a controlled substance, in Collins’ wallet.

In addition to a felony charge, Collins was cited for possession of the knife, possession of drug paraphernalia and illegal transportation of alcohol.

 

Felony DUI

Riverside police charged Marco A. Ibarra, 19, of Wheeling with felony driving under the influence after an officer stopped him for driving his 2007 Acura with its bright headlights on and for speeding 58 mph in a 35 mph zone while northbound in the 3200 block of Harlem Avenue at 3:55 a.m. on Nov. 29.

Ibarra’s blood-alcohol level was reportedly .13, which is higher than the legal limit of .08. Police reported that Ibarra had never obtained a valid driver’s license, which upgraded the DUI charge to a felony.

 

Just painting

Brookfield police received a call from an anonymous person who reported that a subject was walking around in a hazmat suit inside a fenced property at Park and Ogden avenues on Nov. 30 at about 1:15 p.m.

Police interviewed the subject, a 33-year-old Stickney man, who advised that he was painting a car frame and didn’t want to get paint on his clothes.

 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Nov. 24-30, 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