A man accused of stealing a car from a North Riverside dealership on Dec. 23 and leading police on a high-speed chase that ended after he crashed on I-290 reportedly said he took the vehicle because he didn’t want to take the train home and it was too cold to walk.

Officers responded to Zeigler Ford, 2100 Harlem Ave. on Dec. 23 at 11:20 p.m. after the dealership’s burglar alarm activated indicating a break-in to the west garage doors. Police arrived to find a window on an overhead door broken out and a black Cadillac with no plates and displaying the dealership logo driving through the lot, as if the driver were looking for an exit.

The Cadillac then drove through a chain-link fence on the west side of the dealership and into the Jewish Waldheim Cemetery before exiting through the closed cemetery gate onto Harlem Avenue at 19th Street.

North Riverside police pursued the Cadillac as it headed north on Harlem Avenue at speeds topping 100 mph, according to the police report. The car continued east onto I-290 with police still pursuing, topping out at 119 mph before the driver lost control, hit the right concrete retaining wall and spun several times before careening across all lanes of traffic into the center median wall.

The driver, later identified as 20-year-old Victor W. Nunnery, of Chicago, allegedly exited the crashed vehicle and jumped two concrete barriers, ran across the westbound lanes of I-290 into the grassy area north of the expressway.

North Riverside police pursued him on foot, reportedly ordering Nunnery to stop multiple times before using a Taser to subdue him, with probes hitting him in the arm and buttocks.

Nunnery was not seriously injured, according to police, and was released into their custody after being evaluated at the hospital.

Police reported recovering six key fobs from other Zeigler vehicles either on Nunnery or in the stolen Cadillac, where they also found two Microsoft tablets taken from the dealership.

The Cook County State’s Attorney charged Nunnery with burglary causing damage, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing and eluding. He was also charged with resisting arrest, aggravated speeding and reckless driving and cited for having no valid driver’s license or proof of insurance.

As of Dec. 27, Nunnery remained held at Cook County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Speeding stop ends with Class X felony charge

A 56-year-old Chicago man on parole for a serious weapons offense is back behind bars after being pulled over in North Riverside for speeding while driving a 2007 Saturn Aura at 70 mph in a 35 mph zone while westbound in the 7200 block of Cermak Road on Jan. 21 at 1:10 a.m.

The driver, Robert Padilla, had been paroled from Pinckneyville Correctional Center in February 2020, where he had served seven years of an eight-year sentence for being an armed habitual criminal. 

Padilla in 1983 had been convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He later was convicted of a drug offense in 2008 and of burglary in 2013, when he was also convicted of being an armed habitual criminal.

According to the police report, after being arrested for misdemeanor speeding, police searched Padilla and found a loaded 9 mm pistol in his coat pocket. He does not possess a firearm owner’s ID or a concealed carry permit, said police. 

Padilla reportedly told police he’d bought the gun for $250 six months ago from a person who said the pistol came from Indiana.

The Cook County State’s Attorney approved charging Padilla with being an armed habitual criminal, which is a Class X felony punishable for between six and 30 years in prison, if convicted.

The Illinois Department of Corrections informed North Riverside police that it would be issuing a no-bond warrant for Padilla for violating the terms of his parole. Padilla remains held at Cook County Jail after a Cook County Circuit Court judge ordered him to be placed in custody on $700,000 bond.

Padilla has a Jan. 11 hearing date at the Maybrook courthouse.

Catalytic converter theft

A resident of the 2400 block of 5th Avenue, North Riverside, contacted police on Dec. 21 to report that someone had removed the catalytic converter from the undercarriage of his van sometime during the prior three days.

Drag racing down Cermak

Two juvenile males, both residents of North Riverside, were charged with aggravated speeding, reckless driving and street racing after an officer on patrol reported observing a white Dodge Charger and a black Toyota Camry weaving in and out of traffic while traveling at speeds reaching 77 mph while westbound on Cermak Road from First Avenue on Dec. 22 at about 9:05 p.m.

Both drivers pulled over when the police officer directed them to stop at 7th Avenue, according to the police report, where they were arrested and their vehicles impounded.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Dec. 20-26, 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