Riverside police issued an alert last week, warning residents of a telephone scam involving someone purporting to be a Cook County Sheriff’s police or court official.

According to police, during the past several weeks at least two people have called to report that someone called then claiming to be a Cook County commander. People answering the calls are reportedly told they failed to appear for a federal jury subpoena and are told they have to pay a fine or face arrest.

“This information is completely false,” stated a press release issued by Riverside police on Jan. 12.

Police also warned that the caller can sound convincing, using the names of actual police officials and giving the impression they have knowledge of legal and police terminology.

The scammers may also have obtained cellphone numbers and are known to send text messages claiming to be Cook County or federal court officials. Anyone receiving one of these text or phone messages should not respond or give out personal information, police said.

Instead, police said that people should hang up and report the incidents to Riverside police, whose detectives have notified Cook County officials about the scam. Riverside police can be contacted at 708-447-2127. 

Racist graffiti at Ehlert Park

An anonymous caller phoned police on Jan. 11 at about 9:30 a.m. to report that someone had scrawled the word “n—-r” on one of the handicapped parking signs in the lot next to the skate park at Ehlert Park.

The graffiti was written in black marker. Police notified public works so the graffiti could be removed. 

Catalytic converters stolen

Brookfield police received two reports of catalytic converters being sawed from the undersides of vehicles in the past week, continuing a trend police have noted in recent weeks in the village.

The first incident was reported Jan. 9 by a resident whose vehicle had been parked on the south side of the 8800 block of Grant Avenue. The victim stated that the catalytic converter and the rear license plate were removed from the vehicle sometime during the weekend of Jan. 6-8.

Police responded to the 2900 block of Forest Avenue later that week when a resident called to report that someone had sawed off the catalytic converter from his van, which was parked on the street overnight on Jan. 6-7.

Don’t eat the grass

A 22-year-old Chicago man arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in North Riverside on Jan. 6 also tried to eat 35 grams of cannabis he had with him inside his vehicle before police prevented it, according to a police report filed after the incident.

An officer on patrol reported that a motorist pulled up next to him at the intersection of Cermak Road and 6th Avenue at about 2:20 a.m. and told him of a white Jeep with heavy front-end damage and a blown tire about a block away at 23rd Street and 5th Avenue.

The officer checked the area and located the damaged Jeep moving slowly eastbound on 23rd Street. After stopping the Jeep the officer walked up to it and reported finding the driver holding a sandwich bag filled with cannabis, which he was trying to stuff into his mouth.

After making the driver spit out the cannabis, the officer reported that the driver appeared intoxicated and arrested him. The driver reportedly told the officer that his Jeep had struck a pole, but he didn’t know where it had happened.

Police reported recovering 35 grams of cannabis and charged the driver with possession of cannabis and DUI.

Potential scam averted

A North Riverside woman called police on Jan. 6 at 1:25 p.m. after an unknown man who rang her doorbell claimed that a water main had broken in a neighbor’s yard in the 2200 block of 8th Avenue and asked the woman if her husband could help him fix it.

The woman sensed something wasn’t right, shut the door and called police. The subject left the area heading north in a vehicle driven by another person.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Jan. 6-13, 2017 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