North Riverside police recovered two stolen vehicles at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, in the past week, making arrests both times.

In the first incident on Dec. 23 at 1:30 p.m., an officer on patrol observed a gray Hyundai Sonata with one of its rear windows broken out and covered with plastic enter the parking lot and park in a space near Entrance 2 on the east side of the shopping center.

A computer check of the license plate reportedly showed the car had been reported stolen out of Chicago on Dec. 22. In recent months, the Chicago area has experienced a wave of vehicle thefts, particularly of Hyundai and Kia models, which can be started using a USB cord once the steering column is peeled back.

Police approached the parked Hyundai and ordered the two occupants out. The passenger, an 18-year-old Chicago man wearing a backpack, and the driver, later identified as Charles Lambert, 18, of Chicago, exited and ran away through the parking lot.

Both were apprehended a short time later. Inside the backpack, police reported finding a bent USB device, a stun gun and a plastic handgun magazine loaded with one 9 mm round. Inside the car, police observed the steering column had been peeled.

Lambert was charged with felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and misdemeanor resisting. Police charged the passenger with misdemeanor trespass to a motor vehicle and unlawful possession of ammunition.

In the second incident on Dec. 26 about 3:45 p.m., a police officer at the mall observed a white Maserati Levante SUV without a front license plate backed into a parking spot near Entrance 2.

A check of that vehicle’s registration showed that it had been reported stolen in Chicago on Sept. 18. According to police, the vehicle also allegedly had been used in several commercial burglaries in recent days, including one in Wheeling on Dec. 23 and one in Highland, Indiana, on Dec. 24.

Police used surveillance camera video to identify two suspects, a man and a woman, seen getting out of the car after it was parked just prior to 3:30 p.m. 

At 4:20 p.m., police reported locating the suspects in the lower-level mall concourse and approached them. The man, later identified as Orlando Murray, 34, of Riverdale, reportedly resisted arrest but was taken into custody after a brief struggle. The woman was taken into custody without incident.

The woman, who was not charged, reportedly told police she did not know the vehicle was stolen and that Murray had picked her up in the car to take her and her four children, ages 18 to 4, shopping.

Police did not locate the children in the mall. They reportedly were seen on security camera video exiting the mall via a rideshare at about 4:45 p.m.

Murray reportedly refused to talk to police. At the time of his arrest, Murray was on parole from Pinckneyville Correctional Center, where until late August he had been serving an eight-year sentence for burglary. He had two prior burglary convictions in 2008 and 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Corrections website.

Vehicle break-ins

  • A woman went to North Riverside police on Dec. 23 to report that someone had broken into her vehicle, which had been parked in the parking lot near the food court at North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, the day before.

The victim told police that the center console was open, which was unusual, but did not notice anything missing at that time. Later she discovered an employer-provided laptop computer was missing from the back seat.

Police did not report observing any signs of forced entry to the vehicle.

  • North Riverside police charged a 16-year-old boy with burglary, unlawful possession of a credit card and resisting arrest after they arrested him for allegedly pulling on car door handles and entering vehicles parked in the lower-level parking deck at North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, on Dec. 22 at about 7:20 p.m.

A 911 caller gave police a description of the alleged offender and officers reported locating him in the parking lot near the food court entrance. The boy ran from police, who tackled him to the ground after a short foot chase.

Police reported recovering a credit card belonging to someone else, an envelope with loose coins and several keys. Other items the boy reportedly dropped on the ground during the chase included an empty wallet, ID cards and a key.

Security cameras reportedly captured video of the boy entering two vehicles. One of the victims later called police to report that a key to a storage unit was taken from her vehicle.

Store manager allegedly attacks employee

North Riverside police charged a 28-year-old Cicero woman with battery after she allegedly attacked a co-worker at B Toys Zone at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road on Dec. 19 at 6 p.m.

The victim reportedly suffered a large abrasion extending from just below her neck down to the center of her chest and a cut to her right eyebrow.

She reportedly told police she had been having issues with her manager at the store and that just before getting off work that day, the manager followed her outside and attacked her.

Woman ticketed for crash

A 21-year-old Woodridge woman was cited for failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash and failure to report damage after she allegedly walked away from the scene after her car struck The Sweet Spot, 2531 Desplaines Ave. in North Riverside, on Dec. 22 at about 1 p.m.

Police located the driver in the alley near 26th Street and Park Avenue. She had some small abrasions on her face and was walking in the cold weather without a coat. She reportedly admitted being in a crash, saying she had turned onto northbound Desplaines Avenue from westbound 26th Street, but could not detail how she lost control of the vehicle.

Alcohol or drugs did not appear to be a factor in the crash, police said.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Dec. 19-26, 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