A blowtorch, mistakenly left burning and unattended, caused a fire that gutted a Brookfield garage and damaged neighboring structures on the afternoon of Nov. 23.

Emergency personnel responded to the alley between the 9400 blocks of Henrietta and Jackson avenues about 3:20 p.m., with the police officer who arrived first, reporting that the one-car frame garage was “fully engulfed in flames.”

According to the police report, a resident of the property had been working in the garage with a blowtorch, practicing with it to make new wood look distressed. While practicing, the resident observed that the blowtorch looked like it had gone out and he went inside the home to retrieve a lighter.

Upon his return, the resident found the garage to be on fire. He attempted to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher but was unable to do so. Fire Chief Mark Duffek described the garage as a “total loss” due to the fire.

Firefighters responding to the scene saw that the fire spread to the garage to the west and forced open the side service door to limit the damage. A window on the garage to the east also cracked due to heat from the fire.

Bar fight

At least one person was injured – apparently stabbed in the arm with a broken beer bottle – during an altercation that began inside ZuBar, 8436 Brookfield Ave. in Brookfield, on Nov. 25 at about 1:30 a.m., but police so far have made no arrests and continue to investigate the matter.

Police were called to the bar by someone whose sister reportedly had been punched in the face by a man who was still inside the bar. The woman told police that she was struck during an altercation between a group she was with and another group at the bar. 

The altercation initially was triggered when a member of the other group allegedly bumped into the woman. The man who bumped into the woman claimed to have done so unintentionally.

Things calmed down until the woman’s group of friends began leaving the bar and more words were exchanged between the two groups. At that time, according to the police report, the woman threw a beer bottle at the man who had bumped into her earlier.

The woman’s group left the bar, but reportedly confronted someone outside who’d been with the other group earlier. According to that person, he was pushed and punched by members of the group and was stabbed on the arm with a beer bottle. Paramedics transported him to Loyola University Medical Center for treatment. 

Package theft

Two juveniles, one from Brookfield and one from LaGrange Park, were ticketed for theft and must attend a hearing before a local adjudicator next month after they reportedly stole two Amazon packages from the front porch of a home in the 4200 block of Oak Avenue in Brookfield on Nov. 20 at about 5:30 p.m.

The victim called police after seeing the two running from her porch. Police detained the two at Park and Shields avenues, and the two reportedly confessed to taking the packages and dumping the contents in a garbage can.

Police were able to recover the empty boxes as well as the stolen items.

A resident of the 3400 block of Sunnyside Avenue, Brookfield, contacted police on Nov. 26 at about 11:25 a.m. to report that he’d found two unopened Amazon packages in the alley near his garbage cans.

Police were able to deliver one of the packages to the person whose addressed was listed on it, and were trying to locate the person listed on the other package.

Road rage

A Brookfield man called police on Nov. 24 just after midnight after he’d been punched several times by another motorist during a road rage incident in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard.

The victim told police he was crossing the tracks and veered left onto Grand Boulevard when his vehicle was cut off by a sedan that was southbound on Prairie Avenue.

After the victim yelled at the other driver, the sedan did a U-turn and followed the victim, who parked his vehicle in the 3700 block of Grand Boulevard. Both drivers exited their vehicles, and the driver of the sedan allegedly punched the victim three times before other motorists were able to break it up.

The offender drove away southbound on Grand Boulevard, while the victim drove home and called police. Surveillance video reportedly corroborated the victim’s account of what happened, according to the police report. Police so far have been unable to identify the offender.

Man with gun at mall

A 19-year-old man was placed on electronic monitoring by a Cook County judge and awaits a hearing at the Maybrook courthouse on Dec. 10 after he reportedly was caught in the parking lot of the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, carrying a backpack containing a Remington RP9 handgun loaded with a high-capacity magazine, a balaclava-style facemask, a bandanna style facemask, a pair of neon sunglasses, several pairs of plastic gloves, a pair of black gym shoes sealed inside a plastic bag and about $325 in cash.

Andre Merlo and another man were detained by a North Riverside police officer on Nov. 13 about 7 p.m. after exiting the upper entrance to J.C. Penney when the officer noticed the smell of burnt cannabis and observed the two smoking what appeared to be a cannabis cigar.

Police found the gun and other items during a search after the two were arrested on cannabis charges. Merlo reportedly did not have a permit for the weapon, which he reportedly said he bought from a friend a few days earlier. He was charged with unlawful use of a weapon. 

Crash on Harlem Ave.

Riverside police ticketed an 18-year-old Cicero woman who reportedly caused a multi-vehicle crash when she tried to cross Harlem Avenue in a gray Chevy from 30th Street in Berwyn.

The woman told police she thought vehicles were stopped, but her Chevy struck a southbound gray Honda Civic and then spun into oncoming traffic where it was struck by a northbound red Hyundai.

No one was injured. Police reported that the Cicero woman did not possess a valid driver’s license.

Lights stolen from bus

Brookfield police responded to Community Support Services, 9021 Ogden Ave., on Nov. 20 after an employee called to report that sometime after Nov. 15 someone stole rear brake lights from a minibus parked on the property.

The estimated cost to replace the lights, according to the police report, was $3,000. 

Thrown off the train

An 18-year-old Littleton, Colorado, man who was thrown off a Metra train, along with his two brothers, in Riverside on the afternoon of Nov. 19 was charged with battery to a police officer for flinging his driver’s license at an officer, hitting the officer in the chest with it, and resisting arrest.

The three men were removed from the train by Metra security for causing a disturbance and apparently arguing with a conductor over train tickets. Riverside police were dispatched to the train platform where they interviewed the men.

The 18 year old reportedly was uncooperative and flung his driver’s license at one of the responding officers, escalating the incident. 

Escort issues

A 50-year-old Riverside man called police to his Forest Avenue residence on Nov. 19 about 12:40 p.m. to report that a woman he’d hired as an “escort” the previous night had trashed his apartment after a dispute over money.

The man told police he’d hired an escort, known to him only as “Diamond,” on Nov. 18 and that she spent the night. The following morning, she reportedly wanted more money and the man told her he didn’t have any more. After hearing that, Diamond allegedly started throwing items around the man’s apartment.

The man told police it was the second time he’d had an altercation with Diamond, and had police issue her a no-trespassing warning. The man declined to press any charges against her. 

X-mas decorations stolen, damaged

A resident of the 3300 block of Elm Avenue, Brookfield, called police on the morning of Nov. 24 to report that, during the overnight hours, someone had stolen some Christmas decorations from his front yard and damaged another.

Reported missing from the display were a pair of LED trees, each about 2.5-feet tall and valued at about $30 apiece. A lighted deer decoration, valued at $40, was broken.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Nov. 13-25, 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