Riverside police wrapped up a two-month burglary investigation last week when they arrested two people inside a Cicero motel room where they had reportedly stashed the proceeds from a Riverside garage and vehicle burglary as well as items believed to have been stolen in other towns.
One of those arrested, William Wesley Brown, 44, of Chicago, is well known to Riverside police. According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, Brown over the years has been a “one-man crime wave” in the village, “fixated on committing crimes in Riverside even after getting repeatedly arrested.”
Brown was charged with one count of burglary stemming from the October garage/vehicle burglary in the 100 block of Northgate Road. He was also charged with felony unlawful use of a stolen credit card, which was used at locations in Cicero and Chicago, police said.
Riverside police also arrested Brown’s girlfriend, 34-year-old Nicolette R. Barton, of Chicago. She was charged with being a fugitive from justice after detectives confirmed she was wanted by the DuPage County Sheriff on an outstanding felony burglary warrant.
Police developed leads through a cellphone recovered near the scene of the Riverside burglary and security camera video showing the stolen credit card being used. Detectives determined Brown was staying at the Cindy Lyn Motel in the 5000 block of West Ogden Avenue in Cicero and then obtained a search warrant, which they executed on Dec. 3.
Brown’s criminal history includes 25 prior arrests for burglary, aggravated assault, theft and escape from police custody, among others.
Cops investigate fake kidnap scam
An employee at a Riverside business was scammed out of $1,800, according to police, after someone calling the business’ phone line from Mexico through WhatsApp demanded the sum as ransom for the owner of the business who he claimed to have kidnapped.
The victim told police she believed the caller, according to police, since such kidnappings and ransom demands are more common in Mexico. Two attempts to wire the money failed, but a third attempt at a currency exchange in Chicago went through.
Shortly afterward, the business owner returned to the business and the victim realized the call had been a scam. She attempted to cancel the transaction, but it was too late.
Neither the victim nor the business owner knew the offender who targeted them. Police continue to investigate.
Another jewelry smash-and-grab
North Riverside police responded to North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, just after 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 after the owner of a jewelry business set up in a lower-level common area kiosk called to report a smash-and-grab burglary.
The victim told police three men approached the Reflections Jewelry kiosk and one of them asked about a gold chain valued at $3,000. All three left the area, but a short time later the one who asked about the chain returned and, without a word, began kicking out the glass display case.
The offender took two or three trays of jewelry and ran out the nearest exit on the west side of the mall. The offender cut himself on the glass while grabbing the jewelry trays, according to the police report, allowing investigators to collect blood-stained glass as evidence.
The owner of Rodriguez Auto, 8916 Fairview Ave. in Brookfield, called police on Dec. 4. to report that the night before he had chased off someone he observed to be inside an unlocked vehicle belonging to a customer. According to the owner of the vehicle, the offender had stolen a pair of gym shoes from it.
The auto shop owner told police he was working at about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 when he heard some loud noises outside. He opened the overhead garage door and observed a man inside one of his customers’ cars. When he yelled at the man, he closed the car door and jogged to a black sedan waiting about 50 west on Fairview Avenue.
North Riverside police responded to a residence in the 2300 block of Hainsworth Avenue on the morning of Dec. 4 after a homeowner called to report that a bicycle had been stolen from his garage the previous night.
The victim told police that his garage had been open between 6 and 10 p.m. When he went to close it up he noticed the white Specialized Rockhopper bike was missing. It was valued at about $1,000.
An 11-year-old Brookfield boy and his mother went to police on the afternoon of Dec. 3 to report that the boy’s bike, which had been left along an alley fence in the 3500 block of Oak Avenue for about 30 minutes earlier that day, had been stolen. The silver Huffy mountain bike was valued at about $100.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 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