A Berwyn man once convicted of stalking former NBA basketball player and Phoenix Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek in Arizona has been charged with stalking a Riverside-Brookfield High School teacher for the past 14 years.
Cyrus Chamanara, 36, is being held in Cook County Jail with his bond set at $750,000, charged with one count of stalking, one count of criminal damage to property and one count of criminal trespassing.
Police arrested Chamanara without incident as he left his home in the 6900 block of Riverside Drive in Berwyn on March 4. On the morning of Feb. 29, Chamanara allegedly went into the teachers’ parking lot at Riverside-Brookfield High School and broke the windshield wipers and their metal housing off of a teacher’s vehicle. Police reportedly obtained video evidence that helped lead to Chamanara’s arrest after a week-long investigation.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel called this “one of the most bizarre cases the department has ever handled.”
“Mr. Chamanara is an extremely volatile individual and unstable,” Weitzel said. “He, by his own admission, for the last 14 years methodically stalked the victim in the Riverside case and not only harassed the victim but the family.”
Weitzel said the RBHS teacher has been “terrified” of Chamanara, who over the past 14 years has done everything from throwing rocks through the windows of the teacher’s home and that of his parents to following the teacher in his car to the grocery store and to the movies.
According to Weitzel, the teacher has filed charges against Chamanara on several occasions, and Chamanara has been convicted numerous times of misdemeanor crimes, ranging from criminal damage to property to disorderly conduct, related to the ongoing harassment.
But this time Riverside police were able to convince the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to file a felony complaint against Chamanara due to the sheer number of incidents he’s been involved in — across the country — during the past decade and a half.
At the time of his arrest, Chamanara was on probation for both an incident in Cook County and the Hornacek stalking case. He was also wanted on a reckless driving/obstruction warrant in Key West, Florida.
Weitzel said Chamanara also has been arrested in Berwyn; North Riverside; Chicago; Monroe County, Florida; Paradise Valley, Arizona; and New York City for offenses including damage to property, aggravated assault, obstruction, invasion of privacy, stalking and harassment.
Riverside police also have gotten calls from the University of Illinois Chicago, where Chamanara reportedly has been several times on campus. In addition, Wilmette police in September 2015 investigated an incident where Chamanara was allegedly “acting strangely and taking special notice” of a female cheerleading team at a school in that northern suburb. He wasn’t charged in that case because no one wanted to pursue charges, Weitzel said.
“Before we called the state’s attorney, we got all of the police reports we could find and laid them down in front of the state’s attorney,” Weitzel said. “We showed that he keeps getting arrested and bonds out again and again and again.
“Once the state’s attorney saw all the police reports, they agreed it was a stalking case.”
Chamanara’s history with the RBHS teacher dates back to 2002, when the teacher was a faculty member at Heritage Middle School in Berwyn. That year, Chamanara was spotted walking through the halls of Heritage Middle School after hours during basketball practice and girls cheerleading practice.
When the teacher confronted Chamanara, he left the building. But when Chamanara reappeared a short time later, the teacher called Berwyn police, who charged Chamanara with criminal trespassing.
The teacher ended up testifying against Chamanara, who was convicted. According to police, Chamanara blamed the teacher’s testimony for the conviction and his resultant failure to land a particular job.
Chamanara reportedly told police he stalked the teacher by doing Internet searches to learn where he worked and lived and about his personal life and financial history.
“The victim in this case and his family went through hell these past 14 years,” Weitzel said.
The RBHS teacher wasn’t the only person Chamanara blamed for failures in his life, police said.
In 2010, Paradise Valley, Arizona, police arrested Chamanara for stalking former NBA player Jeff Hornacek, who grew up in North Riverside and attended Komarek School.
According to police, Chamanara over a period of years would fly out to Arizona and damage Hornacek’s property. Police there eventually set up surveillance and arrested him.
Chamanara, who also is originally from North Riverside, ended up being indicted for stalking assault with a deadly weapon and criminal damage to property in that case. He was sentenced to five years’ felony probation, according to Riverside police.
He reportedly held a grudge against Hornacek after not being allowed to participate in a basketball camp involving Hornacek several years ago, Weitzel said.
Riverside police have filed paperwork in both Cook County and in Arizona to have the terms of Chamanara’s probation revoked, according to Weitzel.