The Great Clown Fright of 2016, which started in August with a report of suspicious clowns trying to lure children into some South Carolina woods has spread north and arrived in the Chicago area last week.
School districts in Oak Park and River Forest both sent out messages to parents about the phenomenon – River Forest School District 90 announced last week that social workers and counselors would be on hand to talk to children experiencing clown fears.
And closer to home, police in Riverside and North Riverside received clown-related calls, though responding officers reported being unable to locate any such subjects.
On Oct. 6, at about 8:35 p.m., a Riverside man called police after his daughter told him that as she was walking home, she turned off of First Avenue and onto Forest Avenue. The girl told her dad that she saw a clown in the wooded area, waving at her.
An officer checked the area, but was unable to locate anyone.
North Riverside police on Oct. 7 at 2:05 a.m. were dispatched to the 200 block of 7th Avenue after a 37-year-old resident reported he saw two males wearing colorful clown masks and checking car door handles walking northbound on 7th Avenue. One of the subjects was wearing rollerblades.
Police checked the area without finding anyone matching that description. All of the vehicles in the area appeared to be undisturbed.
Burglary suspect charged
Brookfield resident John D. Kimbrough, 40, faces one charge of burglary and could face more after police in Riverside and other suburbs finish investigating his possible role in a rash of vehicle break-ins recently.
Riverside and Berwyn police took Kimbrough into custody on Oct. 7 just after 9:30 p.m. A Riverside resident called 911 to report seeing a subject breaking into a car in the 300 block of Shenstone Road. The subject fled in a gold vehicle, but the witness followed, helping lead police to stop Kimbrough near the intersection of Stanley and Clarence avenues in Berwyn.
According to police, Kimbrough had been going street to street in Riverside attempting break into cars parked on or near the street. Riverside police say they have tied Kimbrough to four attempted burglaries and one burglary in that village.
Kimbrough reportedly is a suspect in several other vehicle break-ins in the western suburbs.
When he was apprehended, Kimbrough was on electronic monitoring related to several theft cases and has an extensive criminal history that incudes arrests for burglary, robbery, fraud and invasion of privacy, among others.
In March, Brookfield police arrested Kimbrough after someone called police to report a subject entering unlocked vehicles in the Hollywood section of the village. He was charged with burglary in that case.
- Riverside police continue to investigate what appears to have been a burglary to a garage in the 200 block of Olmsted Road on Oct. 9. Police were dispatched to the block at about 10:50 p.m. after an Uber driver reportedly found a large gas-powered Honda generator lying in the middle of the roadway.
As he was moving it off to the side a neighbor inquired what was going on and then called police. The neighbor said that about a half hour earlier he heard a loud noise outside. When he checked, he saw a van or SUV drive off at a high rate of speed toward Harlem Avenue.
Police traced tire tracks through the grass leading to a residential garage whose side service door was open. Police also reported a second set of tire tracks leading to the street.
- A resident of the 200 block of Waubansee Road, Riverside, reported that her home had burglarized most likely around 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 8 while she was talking to someone claiming to be installing a fence for a neighbor.
The victim said the front door of her home was left open while she talked to the man at the back door for about five minutes. The next morning the victim realized about $500 in jewelry, $400 in cash and car keys were missing from the home.
- A 33-year-old Brookfield woman called police on Oct. 6 at 2:15 p.m. to report that someone had entered her unlocked vehicle, which was parked in the lot at St. Barbara Church, 4008 Prairie Ave., ransacked it and took a wallet and prescription drugs from a purse that was left in plain view on the front seat.
Four residents of Brookfield’s south end reported hearing what sounded like gunfire at about 10:50 p.m. on Oct. 5. The complainant, a 66-year-old resident of the area near Ehlert Park, told police he was inside his home when he heard two gunshots followed by a pause and then four more shots.
Other witnesses, including a Brookfield firefighter, also confirmed they’d heard what sounded like several gunshots. Police canvassed the area but were unable to find evidence of shots being fired.
A/C theft attempt
North Riverside police responded to the 2400 block of Keystone Avenue on Oct. 5 at about 10:20 p.m. after a homeowner called to report that someone had just tried to steal an air-conditioning unit from behind the exterior of a residence. The subject was last seen running southbound towards 26th Street.
The complainant said he was outside getting ready to leave for work when he heard what sounded like the release of compressed air from the property next door. He then noticed a subject in the backyard near two air-conditioning units, one of which was on its side.
Having been caught in the act, the subject hopped a fence and ran from the area. Police noted that both A/C units had their fuses removed and copper piping leading to one of the units had also been tampered with.
A 42-year-old Park Ridge man reported to Brookfield police on the morning of Oct. 10 that sometime after Oct. 7 a white 2005 United trailer valued at $2,000 was stolen from behind a building in the 9500 block of Ogden Avenue.
Brookfield police responded to the west side of the 3500 block of Grand Boulevard on Oct. 8 at about 2:45 p.m. after someone called to report finding syringes in the roadway. Police collected the syringes and disposed of them.
The officer also observed a plastic bag lying in the gutter. Inside of it were several other small plastic bags containing an unknown white powdery substance.
Wood piles stolen
A resident of the 8500 block of Greenview Avenue, Brookfield, called police on Oct. 9 just after midnight to report that two stacks of 2-by-4 lumber were stolen from his front lawn.
The victim stated that he did hear something that sounded like wood being moved at about 9:45 p.m., but didn’t check the front of the house until later, when he noticed that the wood was gone.
Calling all cars
A Brookfield police officer responded to the 3500 block of Maple Avenue on Oct. 7 at about 7:35 a.m. after a resident called to report a rabbit stuck in her chain-link fence. With the resident’s consent, the officer cut the chain-link to free the rabbit, which hopped off southbound through the alley.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Oct. 3-10, 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.