By Bob Uphues
Adding insult to injury, less than a week after two men smashed their way into the Citgo minimart, 539 Longcommon Road in Riverside, and made off with the top half of a non-functioning ATM, two people on Dec. 3 stole the machine's remaining shell, which had been placed outside after the Nov. 28 burglary.
It was the fourth time in a month that the ATM had been the target of burglars, even though the machine had been damaged and hadn't contained any cash since the first unsuccessful attempt to steal it on Nov. 2.
Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel called the theft of the ATM's useless metal housing, left for trash outside the business, "bizarre."
"What this clearly demonstrates is how brazen these offenders are and their sense of desperation," Weitzel said in a press release. "You could clearly tell the ATM was damaged and there was no money, and they took it anyway."
According to police, surveillance video shows a sedan pulling into the gas station lot at 3:37 a.m. on Dec. 3. Two men are seen exiting the car and placing the damaged ATM into the back seat of the vehicle before fleeing northbound on Harlem Avenue. The entire incident took about 40 seconds, according to police.
Weitzel said the theft took place despite Riverside police stepping up patrols in the rear to once every 30 minutes after three prior attempts, on Nov. 2, 13 and 28, to steal the machine, which had been bolted to the minimart floor.
While the burglars were unable to steal the entire machine on Nov. 28, they did manage to take the top, which police later found dumped on the public parkway in the 100 block of Harrick Road.
After the Dec. 3 incident, Weitzel said police have obtained "substantial leads and are now trying to locate the offenders and vehicle."
Attempted armed robbery
A man brandishing a handgun allegedly attempted to rob Ruby Cleaners, 3020 Desplaines Ave. in North Riverside, on the morning of Dec. 6 but fled empty-handed after getting impatient with how long it was taking to get the money.
According to police, the offender entered the business through the south door about 11:30 a.m. Once inside he reportedly held out his right hand, which was covered with a plastic bag and holding what appeared to be a handgun, and demanded cash from the register.
The person at the counter reportedly told the offender to wait while he retrieved a key, while another employee asked the offender what he wanted.
The offender reportedly replied that he was trying to rob them and then exited the store, running westbound on Edgewater Road where he reportedly entered a blue/gray Hyundai hatchback with a missing rear windshield.
Police continue to investigate the incident.
A 64-year-old Arleta, California, man faces felony drunken driving charges after he allegedly sideswiped another vehicle, injuring the other driver and then fleeing the scene, while southbound on First Avenue near 31st Street, about 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 6.
According to Riverside police, James J. Nagel reportedly was not only drunk but had admitted to ingesting heroin before driving. In addition, said police, Nagel has three prior DUI convictions in three different states and 35 prior arrests.
Police said Nagel's Chevy Trailblazer jerked suddenly into the driver's side of a 2019 Volvo driven by a 34-year-old Joliet woman, breaking the woman's collarbone and wrist. The woman's 2-year-old daughter, who was in a car seat, was not injured.
Nagel's vehicle reportedly was involved in a second crash near Waubansee Road and police took him into custody there. Police described Nagel as "incoherent" and paramedics transported him to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.
Riverside was hit with a spate of four package theft incidents last week, three of them taking place on Dec. 6 on the village's north end. Packages were taken from porches that day from homes in the 300 block of Nuttall Road, the 300 block of Selborne Road and the 200 block of Northwood Road.
A doorbell camera apparently captured the Selborne Road incident at 3:28 p.m., showing a male wearing all black and white shoes taking several packages.
In a fourth incident, on Dec. 3, someone claiming to be the package's recipient reportedly signed for the package before driving away in a maroon vehicle.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Dec. 2-8, 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