By Bob Uphues
Illinois Department of Natural Resources police have cited two Palos Hills men, ages 22 and 24, for careless operation of a watercraft after their aborted attempt at kayaking on a flood-swollen Des Plaines River on May 20 sparked a two-hour search in and around Riverside that involved police and firefighters from multiple agencies, a drone and a police helicopter.
The search was launched after someone flagged down a Riverside police officer to report seeing two unoccupied kayaks and oars being swept downstream by the swift moving water at about 11:40 a.m.
Witnesses subsequently told police that they'd seen two men, who weren't wearing life jackets, kayaking on the river north of Forest Avenue at around 11 a.m. One witness said he saw the two exit the river at Forest Avenue, because they couldn't get under the bridge there, and then portage the kayaks to the other side of the bridge where they re-entered the water.
One of the men reportedly contacted Riverside police at about 5 p.m. to identify himself as one of the kayakers after seeing news coverage of the search. He said that he and his friend had capsized near the BNSF railroad bridge and were able to safely exit the river.
Riverside police turned the information over to the IDNR, which conducted its own investigation.
Man charged with burglary
Martin Alessi, 47, of Lyons, faces two felony burglary charges after he was caught allegedly stealing items from the garage of a residence in the 200 block of 2nd Avenue, North Riverside, on May 20 at about 1:30 a.m.
An officer on patrol, who noticed a rear door open on a car parked at the residence and saw a man walking out of the open garage carrying an item, stopped to investigate. The man at first tried to hide behind a red Hyundai parked in the lot outside of Sliccily Pizza Pub, to no avail.
The officer noticed a number of items inside the Hyundai, including a bicycle, computer equipment, a flat-screen TV and more. A check on that vehicle revealed it had been stolen May 18 in Westmont.
The owner of the garage, meanwhile, told the officer that several items inside the red Hyundai had been taken from the garage, which Alessi allegedly had opened using a remote found inside the owner's unlocked car outside.
In addition to the burglary charges, Alessi reportedly also faced possible charges related to the stolen vehicle in Westmont.
A resident of the 2200 block of 17th Avenue, North Riverside, called police on May 18 to report that sometime after May 16 someone had broken into and damaged his car, which was parked on 23rd Street.
Police observed damage to the driver's side door lock and reported that the steering column had been stripped and that a blank key was left in the ignition, which was hanging from the column.
Three unlocked vehicles were broken into during the overnight hours of May 20-21 in the 2500 block of Forest Avenue, North Riverside. Loose change was taken from each vehicle, according to the reports. Several power tools were taken from one of the vehicles.
Overdose victim revived
Riverside police and paramedics were able to revive an 18-year-old Brookfield man, who fell unconscious after allegedly overdosing on heroin inside a vehicle parked in front of the Riverside Police Department, 31 Riverside Road, on May 19 at about 4 a.m.
Police found the man unresponsive in the back seat of the car and administered two doses of Narcan, an opioid antidote that police are equipped with. Paramedics continued treatment and were able to revive the man, who was taken to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn.
According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, it's the second time within five weeks that police have administered Narcan on the street during the state's stay-at-home order. The last incident occurred April 14 at a crash scene at Harlem and Ogden avenues.
Riverside police contacted the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services after charging a 35-year-old Brookfield woman with endangering the life of a child for being publicly intoxicated while allegedly staggering down Riverside Road past the police station while pushing a stroller with a 2-year-old child inside.
Police said the woman on two occasions staggered onto the grass and nearly tipped over the stroller, causing the child to almost fall out. The officer stated that the woman appeared extremely intoxicated and paramedics later transported the woman to the hospital due to her intoxication level.
The child was released to the custody of grandparents, and the woman was released from the hospital into police custody after a roughly 24-hour period.
Catalytic converters stolen
For the second straight week, Brookfield police are reporting catalytic converter thefts on the north end of the village, all of them cut from their vehicles during the overnight hours of May 17-18.
The vehicles targeted were all parked on the street. Two were located in the 3100 block of Grand Boulevard, while one was parked in the 9300 block of Jefferson Avenue.
Catalytic converters are stolen because they are easy and quick to remove from vehicles, using a reciprocating saw. The devices, which reduce harmful engine emissions, can be sold for scrap at a good price because they contain precious metals, such as platinum. That also makes it expensive to replace them, with a new catalytic converter costing up to $1,000 to install.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, May 18-22, 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.