A 40-year-old Riverside man charged in early 2020 with harboring a runaway Cleveland teenager now finds himself charged with stealing the license plates off of a neighbor’s car and putting them on his own, because he allegedly wanted to go back to Ohio – where he is wanted on multiple warrants – without police pulling him over.

A resident of the first block of East Burlington Street called Riverside police on Feb. 20 to report that Juan Ocampo was stealing the license plates from their car. Ocampo had fled before police arrived, but police observed him walking in the rear of the building on the afternoon of March 10 and arrested him without incident.

After being arrested Ocampo allegedly told police he knew that he had several outstanding warrants for his arrest in Ohio and that he took the license plates, which were from a car very similar to his, because he didn’t want to be arrested if he went back there.

Ocampo was wanted on warrants out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, for stalking and intimidating a witness. He was arrested last December in North Olmsted, Ohio, four months after being arrested by Cleveland police and charged with obstructing justice and interfering with custody after allegedly being found in a hotel room with the same juvenile he was harboring in Riverside earlier last year.

Both Cuyahoga County and Cleveland police issued warrants after Ocampo failed to appear for scheduled court hearings. However, neither agency sought extradition after Ocampo’s latest arrest in Riverside. He remains free on bond.

Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said he has contacted the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to advise them of the latest arrest and to ask them to revoke Ocampo’s bond in at least three pending cases in Cook County.

North Riverside man fatally shot in Chicago

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that 25-year-old Quentin Johnson, of North Riverside, died from multiple gunshot wounds on the night of March 8 in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago.

Johnson, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times citing Chicago police, was shot in the head and leg during an argument in the 5500 block of West Chicago Avenue at about 7:30 p.m. Johnson, who lived in the 9200 block of Cermak Road, was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Police did not report taking any suspect into custody for the shooting.

The pandemic made me do it

Riverside police charged a 38-year-old Chicago man with drunken driving after reportedly finding him passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle, which was parked in the small lot east of Riverside-Brookfield High School along First Avenue on March 13 at 9 p.m.

A 911 caller reported that a man was slumped over the steering wheel of the vehicle, which was still running. A police officer reported having to bang on the vehicle’s window repeatedly to wake up the driver, who allegedly told the officer he was attending a “Christmas party” with friends that had been delayed due to the pandemic.

According to police, the driver said he was headed home. However, police noted the man had been headed in the opposite direction prior to pulling off the road. In addition to charging the man with driving under the influence of alcohol, police issued several other traffic tickets. The man had been arrested for DUI in Chicago in 2008, police said. 

Well, it was similar

Brookfield police let a 42-year-old Brookfield man go without charges after they stopped him on the evening of March 12, believing – wrongly, as it turned out — he was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle.

Police got a call from a geo-tracking service at about 6:45 p.m. that they had pinged a stolen gray 2021 Jeep Cherokee to an area near the 4600 block of Deyo Avenue and that it had been stationary for almost 10 minutes.

An officer reported seeing a vehicle matching that description in the 4600 block of DuBois Boulevard and pulled it over, assisted by several other officers, at 47th Street and Arthur Avenue. Police ordered the driver out of the vehicle and handcuffed him, explaining the situation.

The man told police he’d just bought the car at a dealership and had documents to prove it. Further investigation resulted in police learning that the man did, in fact, own the vehicle and that it was coincidentally in the same area as the stolen vehicle which, by then, police confirmed, was pinging at a location in Bridgeview.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, March 8-14 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