Larry Herbst, who was elected to three terms on the Riverside-Brookfield High School District 208 Board of Education and served as president of the board for four years, has been charged with stalking a 29-year-old Lyons woman for months.
Riverside police arrested Herbst on June 17 after an investigation that began in May, when the victim filed a complaint.
According to police, the 63-year-old Herbst had followed the woman “almost daily” as she walked from her home in Lyons to the Riverside train depot in downtown Riverside. From early February until early May, said police, Herbst stalked the woman more than 30 times, often sitting in his car and looking at the woman through a pair of binoculars.
Herbst didn’t know the woman and never made any contact with her, police said. But his habit was noticed by more than one person, said police, who interviewed several witnesses during their investigation.
The victim herself wasn’t aware she was being followed until she was approached in early May by a man who also takes the Metra train into work in the morning. The man reportedly told the victim that he would see the same vehicle follow her “several times a week” and that the driver of the vehicle would often look at her through binoculars.
The man told the woman he was concerned enough that he wrote down the license plate number of the vehicle and took photos, which he later turned over to Riverside police.
Police interviewed two other independent witnesses, said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, who observed the same behavior. Weitzel said none of the witnesses know each other or the victim.
During their investigation, police received emails, logs of when witnesses reportedly observed Herbst stalking the victim and photos of the vehicle parked in various locations, such as the parking lot of P.J. Klem’s Restaurant in Lyons, on Burling Road, on Riverside Road in front of the bank and behind businesses on East Quincy Street.
“In each of these situations, he was observed stalking the victim and was many times viewing her through binoculars,” said Weitzel in a press release.
Herbst reportedly was involved in a traffic accident at Longcommon and Addison roads on May 24, said police. While his car was in the shop, Herbst reportedly used a rented vehicle to stalk the woman.
While police were conducting their investigation at the time of the accident, they did not arrest Herbst because their investigation was not complete. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Herbst with one count of stalking, a Class 4 felony.
His bond was set at $40,000. The judge ordered that in the event Herbst posts bail, he will subject to electronic monitoring, said police.
A call by the Landmark to Herbst’s cellphone was not immediately returned.
Herbst served as a member of the D208 school board from 1999 until 2011. While president of that board, Herbst presided over a successful tax referendum in 2006 for a major renovation and expansion of the school.
He was also board president during much of the turmoil surrounding former Superintendent/Principal Jack Baldermann, who resigned in 2009, and was on the school board when the school severed its ties with longtime football coach and athletic director Otto Zeman.
Herbst is a past president of the Riverside Swim Club and Riverside Little League and was a member of the Riverside Parks and Recreation Board.