Riverside police have arrested one of two people suspected of an armed home invasion and robbery at a residence in the 100 block of East Quincy Street last week, and detectives say they have identified the second suspect, although the search is still on for him.
The Cook County State’s Attorney charged a 28-year-old Melrose Park woman with home invasion and armed robbery, both Class X felonies that carry prison sentences of between six and 30 years, if convicted.
Those charges were later amended to also include felony residential burglary and aggravated unlawful restraint.
Prosecutors, however, agreed to reduce the residential burglary charge to misdemeanor theft. On May 11, 2021, the woman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor. Prosecutors dropped the other felony charges, and Judge Greg Vasquez ordered her sentenced to the 152 days she had already served at Cook County Jail.
According to police, at about 8:10 p.m. on Dec. 9, the woman and a male accomplice drove an older white sedan to the East Quincy Street residence, where they reportedly knew the occupants possessed medical cannabis.
When a man inside the residence answered a knock at the door, the woman and an armed man allegedly forced their way in and robbed the occupants of cannabis. They then reportedly got into the white sedan and drove away eastbound on East Quincy Street.
According to police, the victims, a 29-year-old woman and 30-year-old man, waited about 15 minutes to call police because they feared retaliation. Neither was injured.
Surveillance video from the village-owned camera at the corner of Harlem Avenue and East Quincy Street reportedly provided police with a clear image of the offenders’ vehicle and license plate number.
Detectives traced the vehicle to an address in Melrose Park and on Dec. 10, police arrested the woman without incident at her place of employment in the 7800 block of Industrial Drive in Forest Park. Police also recovered the vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident.
“The house was targeted for home invasion and armed robbery,” said Police Chief Thomas Weitzel in a press release. “These violent offenders knew there was medical cannabis there and came looking to steal the cannabis from someone who’s legally licensed to carry and grow it.”
Weitzel also called the woman’s arrest direct proof that the surveillance camera system installed by the village is working.
“This is a prime example of how the Riverside street camera program is a success,” Weitzel said. “Within 20 minutes of the initial call, officers already had the car identified.”
Weitzel said the village’s camera system has been instrumental in solving 12 cases.
This story has been changed to reflect that the initial felony charge of residential burglary was reduced to misdemeanor theft and that prosecutors dropped the three other felony charges leveled against the defendant.