By Bob Uphues
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel is urging parents to talk to their school-age children about and review with them appropriate social media safeguards after at least three recent posts on SnapChat, at least two of them by grade school students posing with weapons, caused enough alarm that they were reported to police.
While no direct threats to any one or any school were made in the social media posts, the presence of weapons implied a threat, said Weitzel, spurring police to immediately investigate.
One social media post, by a St. Mary School student, involved the student holding what appeared to be a handgun. That weapon, said Weitzel, turned out to be a BB gun and the child was given a station adjustment. The school told police it would handle the situation administratively, Weitzel said.
On Oct. 23, Brookfield police responded to a home in that village after someone called to report that a Hauser Junior High student had posted a photo on SnapChat of several firearms.
Police described the weapons as a handgun, a hunting rifle and two shotguns. The rifle reportedly had been reported stolen out of Mississippi in 1984. Brookfield police seized the weapons after determining that their owner did not possess a valid Firearm Owner's ID.
As for posts involving high school students, Weitzel, described them as "inappropriate" but not directly threatening.
"We're still investigating social media posts related to the high school," Weitzel said.
On Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m., Riverside-Brookfield High School, 160 Ridgewood Road, will host a Community Safety Forum that is open to the public to discuss safety topics and trends.
The event will feature Weitzel as well as Brookfield Police Chief Edward Petrak, RBHS School Safety Liaison Officer Lane Niemann and RBHS Assistant principal Dave Mannon.
ATM burglary spree continues
A spree of burglaries in the western suburbs in the past month involving either the theft or attempted theft of ATMs continued last week in Riverside.
On Nov. 2 at about 2:55 a.m., Riverside police responded to the Citgo gas station at 539 Longcommon Road after receiving a report of an active burglar alarm there. When officers arrived, they observed the glass front door shattered.
Just inside the door, the top part of the ATM was knocked off the base, but still attached. The owners arrived shortly after and told police that except for the damaged ATM, everything inside the store was accounted for.
The ATM couldn't be stolen, because it was bolted to the floor, according to police. After clearing the scene, police reported that an ATM was stolen from a gas station in Cicero shortly after the Riverside incident.
Police order remedies for 'vicious' dog
The owners of a German shepherd declared "vicious" by Riverside's police chief have agreed to muzzle the dog at all times when in public and take measures to secure their property after the dog got away from the home on the evening of Oct. 25 and acted aggressively.
The dog was reported wandering in and out of yards in the 300 and 400 blocks of Uvedale Road, where a 911 caller said he feared for his safety due to the dog's aggressiveness.
When police arrived, an officer also reported that the dog took an aggressive stance, growling and barking at him. They also recognized the dog from prior contacts and located the owner, who said the 80-pound dog had pushed past her and was unable to control it as it ran out the door.
The dog continued to charge pedestrians walking in the area and even acted aggressively toward its owner, according to police, who eventually used a Taser to subdue the dog.
Police and the dog's owner came to an official agreement on controlling the dog, including fencing the property and using an electronic dog collar. The owner was also given several citations for having a dog running at large.
Brookfield police responded to a residence in the 8900 block of Gerritsen Avenue at 5:45 a.m. on Nov. 4 after a resident called to report a burglary in progress.
The victim told police that someone wearing a black jacket and white and gray hoodie had broken into her apartment and attempted to steal her TV. When the offender saw the victim coming into the room, he reportedly put down the TV and then threw a wooden hanger at the victim, striking her on the right wrist.
Police observed that front door chain lock was broken off the door panel. The victim stated she was unsure if she locked the door the previous night.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Oct. 28-Nov. 4 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