A LaGrange Highlands man who was toting around 74 knives and a replica handgun inside his car, according to police, was charged with violating an order of protection for stalking his ex-wife to a softball tournament at Riverside-Brookfield High School and slashing the tires of her car on the evening of May 4.
Riverside police said that Howard Lavaty, 55, used the Find My iPhone app on a relative’s phone to electronically follow his ex-wife, who had come to the high school to watch her daughter play softball.
After the game was over, Lavaty’s ex-wife observed that the tires of her car, which was parked in the RBHS student parking lot, had been slashed. Police obtained surveillance camera footage reportedly showing Lavaty puncturing the tires.
On May 5, police were able to track Lavaty’s cellphone to a restaurant in the 5200 block of South LaGrange Road and officers arrested him there while he was eating lunch.
“This offender, who was highly agitated when arrested by Riverside police, was definitely on the edge of causing serious bodily harm to his ex-wife,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel. “I am very thankful that a physical confrontation did not take place in the area of the school and that we were able to apprehend the offender the following day, as this situation could have easily turned violent.”
According to police, Lavaty confessed to stalking his wife because he didn’t like the person she was now dating.
Police also learned that at the time of the May 4 incident, Lavaty had 74 knives and a Daisy lookalike handgun inside his vehicle. Lavaty has been arrested previously for domestic battery and violating orders of protection. In February, Lavaty was charged with aggravated battery to police officers and firefighters in Westchester during an incident there.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office upgraded the violation of protection charge to felony status, according to police. He was also charged with criminal damage to property.
Burglary from motor vehicle
A resident of the 2400 block of Keystone Avenue, North Riverside, contacted police on the morning of May 5 to report that during the overnight hours someone had burglarized his white work van, which was parked at his residence.
According to police, the lock on one of the passenger side doors had been punched out and a padlock had been removed from the rear door. Missing from the vehicle was a Dewalt tool bag containing miscellaneous tools and an 18-volt Dewalt drill.
A 21-year-old Berwyn woman called Brookfield police on May 6 to report that she and her boyfriend were victims of a road rage incident that took place in the 8800 block of Ogden Avenue at about 4:10 p.m.
According to the victims, they were driving westbound on Ogden near Prairie Avenue when their vehicle swerved slightly from the curb lane to the center lane, upsetting a man on a motorcycle.
While at the stoplight at Maple and Ogden the motorcyclist allegedly pulled up next to the car, started yelling at them and punched the driver’s side mirror, breaking it. The motorcycle then drove off at a high rate of speed, according to the victims.
Police were unable to locate the offender.
North Riverside police responded to Sears Optical at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, on May 5 after an employee called to report a theft.
The employee told police she opened the store at about 10 a.m. and found that 17 pairs of Ray-Ban frames were missing from the display. According to the police report, the frames were stolen sometime after 7 p.m. on May 4.
The optical department does not have a security gate. Employees typically put a handful of waiting room chairs at the entrance to cordon it off when the department is closed.
Police estimated the loss at about $3,400.
A 78-year-old Brookfield woman went to police on May 5 to inform them that she was the target of an attempted phone scam.
The woman told police she got a call at about 2:45 p.m. from someone congratulating her for winning the “Mega-Million Dollar Sweepstakes” and a 2016 Mercedes-Benz. In order to collect her winnings, she was instructed to go to Walmart and purchase a $90 gift card and then give the card information to the caller.
The Brookfield woman went straight to police and provided them with the phone number of the caller. Police called the number and talked to a man they described as “uncooperative and rude.” They advised the man to have no further contact with the Brookfield woman.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, May 1-7, 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