Three men, one of them armed with a handgun, forced their way into a home in the 200 block of West Quincy Street early on Jan. 25, ransacking the place, pistol-whipping a woman who lived there and kidnapping her son.
The son, who Police Chief Thomas Weitzel described as in his early 20s, was “pretty severely” beaten by his abductors and then dumped in an alley in the 4300 block of West 47th Street in Chicago, where Chicago police found him.
Paramedics transported the victim to MacNeal Hospital for treatment of his injuries. The victim’s mother was also taken to the hospital for treatment of a head injury as a result of being pistol-whipped by one of the offenders.
Both were later released from the hospital and police have followed up with interviews with them, Weitzel said.
A 16-year-old girl who was also in the house at the time of the home invasion was not injured. A juvenile specialist from the Proviso Township Children’s Advocacy Center conducted a forensic interview with the girl in the company of police detectives on Jan. 25.
“Obviously it was a very violent home invasion,” Weitzel said. “But it’s clear this was not a random act. The house was targeted.”
No one was in custody as of Jan. 28. Detectives continue to investigate the incident.
The victim’s mother called 911 from a neighbor’s house at about 1:50 a.m. on Jan. 25 to report the home invasion. In addition to kidnapping her son, the offenders had stolen all cellphones and car keys in the house. They placed the victim in his mother’s vehicle and drove away with him, followed by a black Jeep Cherokee.
The stolen vehicle was described by police as a gray 2014 Nissan Sentra with Illinois plate number E535464. It had not been recovered as of Jan. 28, but was entered into a nationwide police database, asking any law enforcement agency that finds it to leave it where it is and call Riverside police, who want to process it for evidence.
According to police, three men kicked open the front door to the West Quincy Street home, which is very close to Riverside’s border with Brookfield, ordered the home’s three occupants into the living room and told the mother and her daughter to lie down on the floor and “stay out of it or they would kill the son,” Weitzel said.
When the victim’s mother protested, a man armed with a pistol reportedly struck her in the head with the gun to get her to comply. Weitzel said the men “tore through the house,” as if they were trying to find something before blindfolding the victim and kidnapping him.
Riverside police broadcast a description of the vehicles involved in the home invasion and a Berwyn police officer spotted one of them — it’s not clear at this time which one — and tried to stop it. The vehicle sped away and barreled down Harlem Avenue and then I-55 at speeds in excess of 100 mph.
Police used ATVs from the Cook County Department of Homeland Security to search for a handgun, which reportedly was thrown from the vehicle during the chase, in the snow-covered grassy areas along inbound I-55 from Harlem Avenue to Central Avenue, Weitzel said. That search was not successful.
Although police called off the car chase for safety reasons, dispatchers tracked the location of the vehicle by pinging the victims’ stolen cellphones. Police tracked the phones to the 4300 block of West 47th Street, which is where Chicago police reported finding the victim, who had suffered head injuries and had lost several teeth.