A 63-year-old Brookfield man went to police on Jan. 31 to report that a $4,300 check he’d placed in a mailbox at the Brookfield Post Office had been stolen and “washed” by an unknown person who cashed it via a mobile app.

The victim told police that he had made out the check to another party, but when it was cashed it was deposited into the account of someone with a different name. Check washing has become something of a problem in Chicago and the suburbs in the past year or so.

Last fall, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that check washing incidents had spiked and suggested that postal customers avoid using blue mailboxes on the street. Offenders apparently obtained master keys to the boxes, sometimes by robbing postal carriers, steal checks and then alter them using chemicals.

Victims are often defrauded out of thousands of dollars in such cases. 

Aggravated speeding while allegedly drunk

  • A 24-year-old Bellwood man faces a felony weapons charge as well as driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs after police pulled over his black Ford, which an officer reported observing traveling at 63 mph while southbound on Harlem Avenue in the vicinity of 26th Street on Feb. 4 at about 12:45 a.m.

During the traffic stop, police reported recovering a Glock 17 handgun with an extended magazine holding 31 rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber, on the driver’s seat next to the center console.

The driver, reportedly admitting having drunk a half-pint of tequila and smoking four blunts of cannabis before getting behind the wheel. His driver’s license reportedly was revoked for a prior out-of-state drunken driving incident, police reported, and he had no concealed-carry license.

  • North Riverside charged a 27-year-old Maywood man with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, aggravated speeding and possession of cocaine after an officer observed him behind the wheel of a blue Toyota Corolla that was traveling westbound on Cermak Road from Lathrop Avenue at 88 mph in a 35-mph zone on Feb. 4 at about 2:55 a.m.

Police reported recovering multiple cans of beer inside the car and observed an open can of beer on the lap of the car’s passenger, a 38-year-old Chicago man. Police took the passenger into custody because he was reportedly wanted on a Cook County warrant for possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

According to police, about a gram of cocaine was found inside a bag folded up in a $1 bill in the driver’s wallet.

Car stolen in Brookfield recovered

A 2014 Jeep stolen from an Ogden Avenue car repair business in Brookfield last November was recovered in Indiana last week, police have reported.

The Jeep had been left unattended in a service bay for less than five minutes on Nov. 4, 2022, when a gold Lincoln MKX pulled up and two people exited and entered the service bay. One person later exited the business and re-entered the Lincoln, which left the area followed by the Jeep.

On Feb. 1, Brookfield police received a call from police in Munster, Indiana, who wanted to confirm the steal. They had recovered the Jeep after a police pursuit involving the exchange of gunfire and had one person in custody.

Guns displayed in road rage incidents

Two motorists reported that people had displayed firearms during two different road rage incidents in North Riverside last week.

The first took place on Jan. 30 around 8:10 p.m. near the intersection of Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road. An anonymous caller told police a woman driving a small blue vehicle had “brandished” a black firearm at her during a road rage incident which was not described in detail in the police report.

The second incident unfolded at the intersection of Harlem Avenue and 26th Street on Jan. 31around 10:45 a.m. and involved a man in a black Chevy Suburban who “flashed a gun” at the reporting party during what was simply described as a “traffic altercation.”

Reckless conduct

A 19-year-old Chicago man set off a pair of M-60 firecrackers inside the lower-level parking garage at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, on the evening of Feb. 3, leading police to believe initially that the two loud explosions might have been gunfire.

A police officer on patrol at the mall at about 5:35 p.m. reported hearing two loud reports and observed a silver Honda Civic with its taillights on and running in the lower-level garage. The driver’s side rear window was cracked in a spider-web fashion, as if it had broken by a projectile.

Police ordered the driver out the vehicle and took him into custody. A search of the vehicle revealed a “considerable amount” of M-60 firecrackers and several large mortar fireworks in the backseat. Debris from two exploded M-60s was found on the ground near the Honda. Police also recovered a half empty bottle of liquor from the backseat.

The driver told police the vehicle’s window had shattered earlier after being hit with a rock while driving on the expressway.

Police impounded the vehicle, charged the driver with one count of reckless conduct and cited him for illegal transportation of open alcohol.


  • North Riverside police responded to a home in the 2500 block of Keystone Avenue on Jan. 30 just before 5 p.m. after a resident called to report seeing someone exiting the basement of his home.

The resident told police he heard someone open and close the basement door multiple times. Looking through an upstairs window, the resident reported seeing someone wearing a winter coat and hat standing there, looking down at something they were holding.

The unknown person was last seen entering the alley from the backyard. Police said they did not observe any signs of forced entry, but did observe there to be fresh snow on the basement stairwell inside the house and shoe impressions in the snow outside the basement door.

Nothing appeared to be missing from the home.

  • A resident of the 2200 block of 14th Avenue, North Riverside, called police on the afternoon of Feb. 2 to report a possible burglary in progress.

The victim told police that she had arrived home after being gone for about three hours and that she believed someone was inside her house. Police entered the home and found no one inside.

However, police did observe that a chair was wedged up under the handle of the back door and that there appeared to be a pry mark on the front door. The victim told police she had not left the chair that way and had not noticed a pry mark previously.

Fraud foiled

A man who reportedly attempted to purchase almost $7,000 in jewelry from a store at the North Riverside Park Mall, 7501 Cermak Road, on the afternoon of Jan. 30 ran from the shopping center to elude arrest after security arrived.

According to a North Riverside police report, the man, who wore a face mask, entered the store at about 1:30 p.m. and inquired about purchasing a gold chain valued at $6,000 and a bracelet valued at $800.

When asked for ID prior to making the purchase, the man reportedly handed an employee an obviously fraudulent driver’s license. Another employee notified security and when they arrived, the man ran from the store and out of the food court doors into the parking lot where he entered a black Lexus, which was last seen eastbound on 25th Street toward Harlem Avenue.


Riverside police charged a 58-year-old Cicero man with driving under the influence of alcohol after a police officer on patrol reported observing the man drinking a beer while behind the wheel of a GMC Acadia stopped at a red light at Miller Road and Ogden Avenue on Jan. 30 at 1:45 a.m.

The police officer initially reported seeing the vehicle make a wide turn at Burling and Riverside roads and brake frequently while southbound on Riverside Road. At the stop light, the police officer pulled alongside the GMC and reportedly saw the driver drinking beer while waiting for the light to change.

During the ensuing traffic stop, the officer reported recovering the beer from the vehicle. The driver denied being intoxicated and refused all sobriety and breath tests.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 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