A Chicago man has been charged with burglary after allegedly breaking into the former Texor Petroleum building — soon to be the central administrative offices for Riverside School District 96 — at 3340 Harlem Ave. during the early morning hours of Dec. 19.

A Riverside police officer who was across the street from the building on an unrelated call about 3:05 a.m. was notified of an activated burglar alarm at the office building. He ran across the street and found the rear door forced open and damaged, prompting him to radio for additional officers from Riverside and Berwyn.

Police searched the building, immediately recovering a crowbar just inside the entrance to the west side of the building. Subsequently, police discovered Maurice L. Sanders, 37, hiding behind a refrigerator. He was taken into custody at gunpoint, according to police.

During an interview with investigators, Sanders reportedly admitted he’d been staying with a relative in Berwyn and noticed that a dumpster at the property was filled beyond capacity. According to police, Sanders said he broke into the building to see if he could take any items he could pawn for cash.

Police also reported that at the time of his capture, Sanders was wanted on a warrant by Cook County Sheriff’s police for manufacture/delivery of heroin. He reportedly has a criminal history that includes arrests for armed robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and being a fugitive from justice.

In addition to burglary, Sanders was also charged with possession of burglary tools. Both charges are Class 4 felonies, punishable by up to three years in prison.

He is being held without bond at Cook County Jail, awaiting a Dec. 31 preliminary hearing at the Maybrook courthouse in Maywood.

Mall frowns on drone flight inside

An employee of a store at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, has lost his job, another man was charged with battery, and both have been banned from the shopping center after they reportedly failed to cooperate with mall security who wanted them to stop flying a drone inside the mall on Dec. 16 about 7 p.m.

Mall security called police when the two reportedly refused to leave the premises. Both were charged with criminal trespassing. One was charged with battery for allegedly shoving a mall security guard.

Christmas decorations stolen, damaged

North Riverside police responded to the 200 block of 4th Avenue on Dec. 14 after a resident called to report that someone had stolen one Christmas decoration from her front lawn and damaged a second.

The incident happened between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., according to the police report. Three decorative snowmen had been placed in front of the residence. A 3-foot-high snowman was missing and a 5-foot-tall snowman had been broken in half.

Child endangerment

North Riverside police charged a woman with child endangerment after reportedly finding her and two others asleep in a vehicle that was parked in the lot at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road on Dec. 16 about 5:35 p.m.

Police responded to the mall after someone called 911 to report three people “passed out” in a blue Nissan Sentra, with an infant awake inside the vehicle. An officer reported a strong odor of cannabis coming from inside the vehicle, with one person holding a cannabis cigar, sitting next to the infant, who was in a car seat.

Paramedics took the infant to the hospital for evaluation. The infant was later turned over to her grandmother. The infant’s mother was reportedly asleep at the wheel of the Nissan when police arrived on the scene. The matter was referred to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The two passengers were cited for possession of cannabis.

Package theft not actually theft

A resident of the 2400 block of Burr Oak Avenue called police on Dec. 11 about 8:05 p.m. to report that someone had stolen a package from her front porch.

The resident told police that she was out of town, but the theft had been captured by her doorbell video camera. While investigating, police learned that the package had been taken from the porch by someone who lives in the 2500 block of Burr Oak Avenue. 

It turned out the package had been delivered to the wrong house and the person who took it actually was the intended recipient. 

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Dec. 11-20, 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