By Bob Uphues
Riverside police have arrested a 26-year-old Berwyn man they say is responsible for not only a rash of vehicle break-ins at the turn of the New Year, but for a November incident in which he allegedly pepper-sprayed two Longcommon Road residents who tried to stop him from burglarizing their vehicle.
Officers apprehended Joshua Rivera in the vicinity of 35th Street and Maple Avenue in Berwyn on Jan. 9 at about 6 a.m. after a Robinson Court resident called police to report someone attempting to break into cars in the area.
Rivera, who is on parole after convictions in 2016 and 2017 for residential burglary and aggravated battery, is believed to have broken into more than two dozen vehicles in Riverside in the past two weeks. He was charged with eight counts of burglary.
As a police officer transported Rivera to the central lockup, he reportedly remarked, unsolicited, "I was doing so good. I'm almost off parole."
In addition, police charged Rivera with one count of theft for allegedly stealing a bicycle from a residence in the 300 block of Herrick Road on Jan. 9. He was reportedly riding that bicycle when police detained him.
According to police, at the time of Rivera's arrest he was in possession of a large amount of coins, two large Sharpie markers, cash, pepper spray and a cellphone in addition to a small amount of cannabis and drug paraphernalia.
Rivera was also wearing multiple layers of clothing, said police, which he would reportedly peel off while moving from location to location if he felt his actions had been caught on a surveillance camera.
During their investigation, police connected Rivera to a Nov. 29, 2020 incident in the 400 block of Longcommon Road. A homeowner, whose wife was alerted by the Ring doorbell app on her cellphone, confronted a man in the driveway at about 4:30 a.m.
Police say that Rivera pepper-sprayed the homeowner, causing him to drop a baseball bat he'd carried out of the house with him. As the two men struggled over the bat, the victim's wife joined the melee, reportedly hitting Rivera over the head with a broom handle before Rivera allegedly pepper-sprayed her and ran away.
Rivera has been charged with battery related to the Longcommon Road incident. He is being held without bond at Cook County Jail, and the Illinois Department of Corrections reportedly has issued a parole violation warrant for Rivera.