By Bob Uphues
A large-scale disturbance by juveniles at the North Riverside Park Mall on the evening of March 3 prompted local police to seek a 15-car response through the Illinois Law Enforcement Alarm System in order to restore order and investigate property damage inside the mall resulting from fights that reportedly broke out throughout the mall.
The chaos inside the mall prompted some stores to close their gates and eventually forced mall security to lock entry doors to the mall, allowing people to exit but not enter unless allowed to by security staff. Police also closed vehicular entrances to the mall for a time.
Multiple reports of gunfire were deemed to be unfounded by investigators, who could find no evidence of such claims.
At about 6:45 p.m., mall security notified North Riverside police of social media chatter indicating that large groups of juveniles – reportedly from "rival schools" that could not be identified -- were coming to the mall to fight each other.
By 7:15 p.m., police responded to mall to assist in dispersing large groups of juveniles, who made the task difficult by running from one entrance to another. North Riverside called for additional assistance from nearby agencies as reports of fights and disturbances inside the mall increased.
Damaged reported during "smash-and-grab" incident at an upper level stores reportedly resulted from a fight involving mannequins. One person was taken into custody related to that incident and charged with disorderly conduct.
At 7:50 p.m., police responded to a CTA bus parked outside one of the mall entrances after the driver reported it had been damaged. According to the police report, a group of juveniles began either kicking or throwing rocks as the front door of the bus, causing it to shatter.
Police remained on scene until at least at 9 p.m. and continued to respond to disturbance calls from nearby businesses, such as Toys R Us, Chick-fil-A and Tony's Finer Foods.
Two charged with Riverside car break-ins
Riverside police have arrested two men they believe are connected to six vehicle break-ins during the early morning hours of Feb. 26, with four of the victims agreeing to seek charges against the alleged offenders.
Jose E. Belmonte, 20, and Omar J. Colin, 19, both of Cicero each have been charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle after being stopped and detained in the vicinity of Uvedale and Southcote roads by a patrol officer about 2:50 a.m.
Both men, who were dressed in black clothing, carried backpacks that contained items such as a GPS unit listed to a home in the neighborhood, loose change, an iPhone and other personal items.
According to police, the two men targeted unlocked vehicles. They reportedly told police that a female dropped them off in Riverside and they had planned on calling a friend or a ride-share service to pick them up and take them back home.
The patrol officer spotted the two and made contact with them. The two ran a short distance before surrendering, police said. The burglaries took place on Southcote, Selborne and Uvedale roads.
Stuck in the mud
A 68-year-old Lyons woman attempting to get to the Riverside Library by following a path along the Des Plaines River in Riverside Lawn at noon on Feb. 27 got stuck in the mud and had to be rescued by police and paramedics from Riverside and Lyons.
The woman said she fell in the mud trying to hop a small creek in the path and found it impossible to get back up.
Woman cited for unruly house party
Brookfield police ticketed a 37-year-old woman for keeping a "disorderly house," after police were called to the 4100 block of Grove Avenue on March 3 about 11 p.m. after several people phoned 911 to report 20 to 30 people fighting outside.
Dozens of young people ran in all directions as police arrived and officers went to the home in question to investigate. Inside, police reported observing smashed beer bottles, empty beer bottles and the remains of Jello shots.
The 37-year-old woman at home at the time reportedly said she was unaware of the underage drinking and was "very confrontational," said police, who told her she was responsible for the children in her house and liable for providing a safe haven for underage drinking.
At least one juvenile was cited for illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor.
Alzheimer's patient lost in Riverside
A 75-year-old Evergreen Park man suffering from Alzheimer's disease was not seriously hurt after losing control of a 2002 Nissan and driving onto the front lawn of a home in the 200 block of Longcommon Road late on March 4.
The man, who was ticketed for three traffic offenses, had been driving around for about four hours, police said, before winding up in Riverside. The driver told police he had no idea where he was, where he was headed or how he ended up on the front lawn of the home.
The man's wife reportedly told police she had hidden the car keys, but that he must have found them, because they were missing from the couple's home. The vehicle did "extensive" damage to grass, shrubs and landscaping along the 200 block of Longcommon Road.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, Feb. 26 to March 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.