Cops: Group home workers struck residents

Two employees working at group homes in Brookfield operated by UPC Seguin of Greater Chicago have been charged with aggravated battery for allegedly striking intellectually disabled residents of the homes.

The incidents were reported to police on consecutive days last week and both cases have been referred to the Illinois Department of Human Services Office of the Inspector General, according to police.

Stephanie A. Merritt, 54, of Chicago, is being held at Cook County Jail with bond set at $25,000, awaiting a June 25 hearing at the Maybrook courthouse. She is charged with two counts of felony aggravated battery for allegedly hitting two adult residents of Seguin’s group home in the 3800 block of Grove Avenue on June 7.

Another employee contacted police on June 10 to report the incidents. While eating dinner on June 7, a 23-year-old resident of the home angered Merritt when she pushed a bowl across the table, spilling the contents towards Merritt.

According to the police report, Merritt ran after the woman and hit her in the back with the palm of her hand, knocking her to the ground.

About an hour later while Merritt was eating dinner, another female resident said she wanted to take a shower. When Merritt told the woman she was going to have to wait, the resident reportedly flipped over a plate of French fries.

Merritt allegedly responded by slapping the woman in the face several times.

On June 11, a Seguin employee contacted Brookfield police to report a separate incident involving another employee at the agency’s group home in the 4000 block of Maple Avenue.

According to the police report, an employee told Gwendolyn R. Baldwin, 54, of Chicago, that a 44-year-old resident of the home had been “acting out” earlier that day.

Baldwin reportedly took the woman into a bedroom and began beating her. The other employee told police she heard “smacking sounds” coming from the bedroom and opened the door to see what was going on.

The employee saw the victim face down on the bed with Baldwin physically on top of her, said police, striking the victim in the back with a “small novelty baseball bat.”

Baldwin was charged with one count of felony aggravated battery.


Thieves hit car dealer

The manager of Joe Rizza Ford, 2100 Harlem Ave. in North Riverside, reported to police that sometime between 9 p.m. on June 12 and 10 a.m. on June 15, someone removed several side mirrors and the rear Chevy emblems off of nine Ford pickup trucks parked in the dealer’s lot.

All of the vehicles were parked along the east side of the business along Harlem Avenue. The items stolen were valued at $3,400.


Brookfield vehicles targeted

The owner of a 2005 Freightliner semi-tractor truck told Brookfield police that he had parked his vehicle in a lot in the 9100 block of Plainfield Road at midnight on June 12. When he returned on June 15 he found a small passenger-side window broken and the door unlocked.

Items taken from the cab included a GPS unit with speakers, a CB radio, a laptop computer, a Bluetooth headset and a dash-mounted radio/CD player.

A resident of the 8900 block of Grant Avenue, Brookfield, reported that during the overnight hours of June 20-21, someone entered her unlocked 2000 Toyota, which was parked behind her residence, and rifled through the glove box, scattering items throughout the interior. No items were reported stolen.

Brookfield police reported that two vehicles were entered in the 3800 block of Raymond Avenue by a suspicious subject during the early morning hours of June 21.

Police around 1:30 a.m. received a report of a male entering unlocked vehicles parked on the block. About 2:40 a.m., police reported spotting a man near Grant and Blanchan, who matched the description given by a witness.

A police officer questioned the man, who reportedly was uncooperative but sent him on his way after finding no cause to detain him.

A resident of the 3200 block of Oak Avenue, Brookfield, told police that during the overnight hours of June 20-21, someone entered her 2003 Chevy Impala, which was parked in front of her home.

The glove box was ransacked and items were scattered around the vehicle, but nothing appeared to be missing.


Garage break-in

A resident of the 4100 block of Elm Avenue, Brookfield, reported that between 6 and 8:15 p.m. on June 16 someone damaged their overhead garage door in order to gain entry.

Items had been moved around but nothing was reported missing.


These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, June 10-21, 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

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