Riverside’s police chief urged residents to call 911 immediately and not confront anyone they believe may be committing a crime after a car burglary suspect pepper sprayed two homeowners during an incident in the 400 block of Longcommon Road on Nov. 29 around 4:30 a.m.

According to police, one of the victims received a Ring doorbell notice on her phone indicating movement in the driveway. The homeowner looked outside and saw the dome light on inside the vehicle in the driveway.

The woman woke up her husband, who grabbed a baseball bat and went outside to confront the offender. After exchanging words, the offender pepper sprayed the homeowner, causing him to drop the bat.

Both the homeowner and offender grabbed the bat at the same time and struggled for it, while the victim’s wife came outside and struck the offender with a broom handle. The offender responded by pepper spraying the woman and running away.

The victims described the offender as a white male in his 20s, about 6 feet tall, between 160-170 pounds and wearing a black hoodie, black face mask and black pants.

The offender did not make off with anything from the vehicle and the victims were treated at the scene by paramedics. Police conducted what they referred to as an “exhaustive” search for the offender, including using a police dog, but were unsuccessful.

Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said the victims could have been more seriously injured and advised residents of the village to call 911 immediately.

“This confrontation could have been much worse if the offender had been armed or the victims had received more serious injuries,” Weitzel said in a press release, adding that officers responded to the scene in less than two minutes. “I ask our residents to please call the police first before any confrontation with a possible offender so that our quick response may facilitate the apprehension of any possible suspect.”

Jewelry store smash and grab

North Riverside police are investigating an incident in which two men, one of them armed with a hatchet, smashed a glass showcase near the entrance to Diamonds Forever at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, and made off with an estimated $60,000 to $70,000 in jewelry.

According to the police report, the two offenders entered the store on Nov. 22 at about 2:30 p.m., looked around the store and made a few inquiries before leaving. They came back at about 3:10 p.m. at which time one pulled out a hatchet from his hoodie and smashed the display case, dropped the hatchet and grabbed the jewelry. Both men then fled the mall.

Darrell King, 34, of Chicago, faces a charge of armed robbery, unlawful use of a weapon and retail theft after he allegedly brandished a knife at a pair of J.C. Penney security guards as they tried to apprehend him for reportedly stealing six smart watches and a cart full of merchandise at North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, on Nov. 28 at about 4:15 p.m.

Police estimated the value of the items King allegedly tried to steal at $3,000. Police were able to apprehend him inside J.C. Penney.

Fight call at ‘near max capacity’ bar

Brookfield police responded to Cordial Inn, 9207 31st St., at about 12:45 a.m. on Nov. 26 after an employee called to report a fight in progress.

According to the police report, officers observed the bar to be at “near max capacity” despite the governor’s ban on indoor dining and drinking due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in suburban Cook County. The governor’s order, which many local establishments have been flouting because local officials say they have no power to enforce it, also requires bars to close at 11 p.m.

The alleged victim downplayed the altercation, telling police she had “slipped” while trying to separate two people who were arguing. Security video reportedly showed the offender striking the victim twice with an open hand before leaving the bar.

Catalytic converters stolen

North Riverside police responded to the 2200 block of 15th Avenue on Nov. 27 at about 3:10 a.m. after someone called to report the theft of a catalytic converter from a Ford van parked on the street. The victim called after his daughter heard a loud noise coming from the front of the house. When she looked outside, she saw a man underneath the van and a black sedan parked directly behind.

Later that day, a resident of the 2300 block of Westover Avenue called police to report that someone had cut the catalytic converter from the underside of his Honda CRV, which had been parked in the driveway overnight.

Counterfeit bills paid for wheels

A 17-year-old Brookfield boy called police on Nov. 29 to report that a person he sold four 15-inch tires with black rims for $220 paid for them with a pair of counterfeit $100 bills.

The boy told police he had offered the wheels for sale on the online app Offerup and that an unknown man came to the residence to buy them, handing the boy a $20 bill and two $100s. 

The $20 bill was real, but the boy later observed that the $100 bills had a different texture and were smaller than real bills.

Police confiscated the counterfeit bills and said they would turn them over to the U.S. Secret Service. The investigation continues.

Burglary suspect arrested

A Chicago man faces felony burglary charges after he was caught allegedly taking items from a 2003 Ford work van parked in the lot at Best Buy, 2358 Harlem Ave. in North Riverside, on Nov. 24 at about 2:45 p.m.

When police arrived, they found the victim and a witness holding down 54-year-old Carlondrew Thompson on the ground. According to the police report, it appeared as if the van’s passenger side door lock had been punched out and police reported recovering a screwdriver from Thompson’s pocket.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved two felony charges against Thompson for burglary to a motor vehicle. He was also charged with criminal damage to property.

A resident of the 4400 block of Maple Avenue, Brookfield, called police at about 5 a.m. on Nov. 29 to report that someone had just stolen a snow blower from his backyard shed.

A witness told police that he’d stepped outside at about 4:30 a.m. to smoke a cigarette when he saw someone in his neighbor’s shed. When he realized it wasn’t his neighbor, the witness yelled at the person, who was wearing dark clothing. The offender ran to the front of the residence while pushing the snow blower.

The witness lost sight of the offender but then heard a car door slam shut before hearing the sound of a vehicle taking off at a high rate of speed. The witness then informed his neighbor of what had happened. The victim phoned police, who were unable to locate a suspect in the immediate vicinity.

Brookfield police responded to the 3000 block of Prairie Avenue on Nov. 29 at about 1:50 p.m. after a 51-year-old ComEd worker reported that someone had burglarized his company-supplied truck.

Police reported that the vehicle’s rear driver side cab window was shattered. About $8 in cash was taken from the center console along with an empty toolbox. 

Sucker punched

A North Riverside man called police on Nov. 25 at about 11:10 p.m. to report that someone had just punched him in the face, and that he had no idea why.

The victim told police that he’d parked his vehicle in front of his house in the 2200 block of 11th Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. He said he observed a dark colored sedan with its headlights on parked about three houses away.

After gathering up his belongings, the victim began to walk toward his house when an unknown man wearing dark clothing approached, yelled his name and then punched him in the face.

The punch knocked the victim to the ground, and by the time he got up the offender had fled from the area in a vehicle. The victim told police he had no idea who punched him or why.

Can’t carry a sword around the mall

North Riverside Park Mall security escorted an unidentified male from the shopping center on Nov. 27 just before 9 p.m. after he failed to heed several warnings to put away a novelty sword he had recently purchased and which he continued to brandish inside the building.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Nov. 22-29, 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