By Bob Uphues
Masked gunman robs
North Riverside phone store A masked man brandishing a long-barreled revolver robbed a North Riverside cellphone store last week, ordering eight store patrons to the ground and demanding two employees empty their pockets along with the contents of the cash register.
According to police, the robbery happened about 7:10 p.m. on Jan. 24 at the T-Mobile store, 2312 Harlem Ave. in the North Riverside Plaza shopping center.
Two employees in the store at the time of the robbery told police that a man wearing a black ski mask, black hooded sweatshirt, tan pants and Ralph Lauren rain-boot style shoes entered the store and pulled out a handgun before demanding money. The employees put the money into a pair of gift bags and handed them to the gunman, who ran out of the store and across Harlem Avenue into the rear parking lot of the Cermak Plaza shopping center in Berwyn.
No one was injured during the hold up.
According to police, a T-Mobile regional loss prevention staffer told them that a very similar robbery occurred at a T-Mobile store at 46th Street and Kedzie Avenue in Chicago earlier in January.
In each case, the offender ordered employees to empty their pockets and told customers to get on the ground. The offender's footwear was also identical, according to the police report.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a T-Mobile store at the Chicago location was robbed on Jan. 18. However, a suspect has been arrested in that case, and he is being held without bond at Cook County Jail.
Suspected car thieves escape
In a pair of unrelated incidents last week, people driving stolen vehicles were able to elude police after crashing the vehicles and running from the scene.
On Jan. 25 about 12:25 a.m., a Riverside police officer reported that he was heading northbound on First Avenue near Forest Avenue, following a pickup truck reported stolen out of Chicago.
The truck turned onto Forest Avenue into Riverside. The reporting officer then responded to a burglar alarm at a residence in Riverside while Lyons and North Riverside officers went to pursue the stolen vehicle, locating it at Harlem Avenue and East Burlington Street.
The truck turned onto 34th Street in Berwyn and accelerated when the Lyons officer attempted to make a stop. The driver lost control of the truck, which struck a parked car. The driver and a passenger jumped from the car and fled on foot.
Police searched for the two men without success.
On Jan. 26 about 1:20 a.m. a Brookfield officer located a 2001 Chevy Malibu, reported stolen from a Brookfield home a week earlier, traveling northbound in the 4600 block of Eberly Avenue.
The officer followed the vehicle into LaGrange and called for backup units. While traveling on northbound Sawyer Avenue, police attempted to stop the car, which accelerated through an alley. The car was going fast enough to go airborne twice while crossing streets, and eventually crashed and flipped over onto its passenger side, coming to rest behind a home in the 200 block of Washington Avenue.
The driver climbed out of the car and ran eastbound through yards and into the 4200 block of Eberly Avenue in Brookfield, where police lost sight of him. A subsequent manhunt in the area failed to produce any suspect.
Car hits tree in Riverside
A 20-year-old Westchester man was charged with driving on a suspended license and driving too fast for conditions after he reportedly lost control of his 1997 Acura sedan while traveling eastbound on Riverside Road at Olmsted Road in Riverside on Jan. 25 at about 7:50 a.m.
The car left the snow-covered roadway and struck a tree in the wooded area along the Des Plaines River, causing heavy front-end damage to the vehicle. The driver and a 1-year-old girl in the backseat were not injured. The driver was also cited for damage to village property.
A 19-year-old Brookfield resident was charged with attempted burglary, which is a felony, and criminal trespassing after police responded to a vacant home in the 4200 block of Maple Avenue, which has been burglarized twice in the past month.
Police were called to the property after a neighbor reported hearing two loud bangs coming from the yard of the home. Police found two sets of footprints in the snow and a shoe print on the locked garage service door.
An officer stopped two subjects in the 4100 block of Maple Avenue. One of the suspects, Patrick Hernandez, who lives near the vacant home, was charged with attempted burglary and trespassing. An 18-year-old male was charged with misdemeanor trespassing.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Jan. 21-27, 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.