Riverside police were able to clear four unsolved residential burglary cases going back as far as last May after Berwyn police announced the arrest of a man suspected of burglaries in several nearby communities.

Police Chief Tom Weitzel on Feb. 26 announced that Berwyn’s arrest last week of 30-year-old Erik Albavera led them to charge him with the following burglaries in Riverside: in the 300 block of Lionel Road in May 2016, the 200 block of Shenstone Road in October 2016, the 700 block of Arlington Road in November 2016 and the 400 block of Uvedale Court in February 2017.

Berwyn police said Albavera selected homes owned by elderly residents who lived alone. Investigators said they were able to establish a pattern of potential residences and victims and began to conduct surveillance.

On Feb. 9, police conducting surveillance on a potential victim’s house observed Albavera, who is a Berwyn resident, try to force open a rear door and arrested him as he walked back to his vehicle.

Berwyn police subsequently charged Albavera with nine counts of burglary and two counts of attempted burglary. Other police departments, in addition to Riverside, have also charged Albavera, according to Berwyn police.

He is being held at Cook County Jail on $25,000 bond, awaiting a March 1 hearing at the Maybrook courthouse.

Man wanted for Brookfield burglary snared

Meanwhile, Brookfield police solved the March 2016 burglary of a residence in the 3000 block of Forest Avenue with the arrest of 27-year-old George Tapia, of Cicero, on Feb. 16.

Tapia was arrested by officers from the west suburban Major Case Assistance Team (MCAT). Tapia reportedly committed two burglaries while under surveillance. 

Tapia became a suspect in the Brookfield burglary when the Illinois State Police Crime Lab found that a fingerprint taken at the scene of the Forest Avenue break-in came back as a match.

According to police, Tapia has 25 prior burglary arrests and was arrested in May 2016 by Chicago police for possession of stolen property. The property came from a burglary in Darien the month before, according to police.

A laptop computer found in a vehicle owned by Tapia’s girlfriend matched the description of a laptop stolen from the Brookfield home, police said. Brookfield police obtained a warrant for Tapia’s arrest on Jan. 31. 

Creeper in a blue van

A Brookfield woman called police on Feb. 20 to report that a man driving along Gerritsen Avenue near Ehlert Park told her 76-year-old father, who was out walking, that two women inside his vehicle would perform sexual favors for him for $20.

The victim ignored the request and the van drove off eastbound on Gerritsen Avenue, police said.

The vehicle was described as a royal blue, windowless panel van and the driver was described as a white male, between 19 and 22 years old with clean-cut hair who appeared to be under the influence of some sort of narcotic.

The victim told police he was unable to determine whether the van was carrying any passengers, because it had no windows.

Drinking and driving results in crash

Riverside police charged a 50-year-old Lemont man with driving under the influence of alcohol after he drove his white GMC work van into the rear end of a white Chevy van, which was stopped at a red light in the northbound lanes of First Avenue at 31st Street on Feb. 23 at about 3 p.m.

A witness who had been following the GMC van from Ogden Avenue told police that it had crossed into oncoming traffic multiple times. When the GMC van hit the Chevy, according to police, it was not properly in its lane.

The driver of the GMC van reportedly told police he’d drunk 12 beers and police reported finding several beer cans in the vehicle, including one that had blood on it, in the driver’s compartment. The driver’s mouth also had sustained a cut.

Police said the driver was so drunk that doctors at Loyola University Medical Center, where the driver was taken to treat the cut, said he had to stay the night. No one else was injured.

The driver was also cited for driving while using a cellphone in addition to other offenses.

‘Suspicious’ person

Brookfield police responded to the 4300 block of Deyo Avenue on Feb. 23 at 2:35 p.m. after someone called to report a suspicious person wearing a black hoodie and carrying a clipboard.

Police identified the 46-year-old man as an employee of the village’s engineering firm who was working on bid estimates for repaving the street.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Feb. 20-Feb. 26, 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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