By Bob Uphues
The Riverside and Lyons fire departments asked the Forest Preserve District of Cook County to close its boat launches on the Des Plaines River on May 2 after they pulled one of four kayakers, whose boats had capsized, from swiftly moving, flood-stage currents.
Firefighters and police responded to the area near the Swinging Bridge at about 3:40 p.m., where they saw two kayakers, a man and woman, exiting the water on the Riverside Lawn side of the Des Plaines after their boats capsized and floated away downstream.
A third kayaker, meanwhile, was reported to be farther upstream, near Swan Pond Park. That person called 911 to report his predicament and firefighters found the man in the water, clinging to a branch. Three firefighters donned water rescue suits and went into the river to rescue that kayaker.
No one was injured and all three kayakers refused medical treatment. After a sustained period of rain last week, the Des Plaines River had crested at 7.34 feet on April 30, flooding low-lying areas in nearby forest preserves and Swan Pond Park.
The water level remained fairly constant over the next two days and was still right around 7 feet, which is considered flood action stage, when the kayakers launched into the river.
During the rescue, a fourth kayak floated by, one that the rescued kayakers had seen earlier, unoccupied, near the former site of the Hofmann Dam. That boat was later recovered from the river near Olmsted Road.
On May 4, a LaGrange man called Riverside looking for the kayak, which had also capsized near Hofmann Dam on the afternoon of May 2. The man had pulled it to the bank and left it there to get his car and retrieve it, but when he returned it was gone.
"When the river is at these levels, it's really not the time for inexperienced kayakers to try to navigate the river," said Fire Chief Matthew Buckley.
Juveniles charged with vehicle burglaries
Two 16-year-old North Riverside boys have been charged with felony burglary for their alleged roles in breaking into an unlocked van parked in the 2300 block of Forest Avenue during the overnight hours of April 30-May 1.
In addition, one of the two juveniles was also charged with four vehicle break-ins that occurred over night on April 29-30 in Riverside and with criminal damage to property for an unrelated incident in North Riverside on April 29.
Riverside police reported that after 11 p.m. on April 29, four unlocked vehicles had been broken into, with missing items including a jacket, cash and coins, I-Pass transponders, jewelry and iPads.
Surveillance video was able capture one of the incidents, and police recognized the offender, a North Riverside teen, from prior contacts. They notified North Riverside police, who found the juvenile in the company of another 16 year old inside an apartment in that village during the early morning hours of May 1, while investigating the van burglary on Forest Avenue.
The victim, a 58-year-old Oak Park man, called police at 12:35 a.m. telling them he'd left the van parked on the street, unlocked, for about an hour. When he returned, he found that a set of keys and a case of Corona Light beer were missing.
Police reported that they found the two 16 year olds drinking Corona Light when they located them. They obtained permission from a parent to search the 16-year-old resident's bedroom and reportedly found a jacket stolen from a Riverside vehicle, two I-Pass transponders and the set of keys stolen from the van.
Shelter smashing spree
North Riverside police reported that the walls of four glass Pace bus shelters were smashed over a period of four days last week.
The first two – the rear glass panels of shelters at Cermak Road and First Avenue and Cermak Road and 9th Avenue – were found damaged on the morning of April 26.
On the morning of April 28, a glass panel of a shelter at 26th Street and First Avenue was found smashed, while another glass panel was found smashed out of a shelter at 26th Street and Hainsworth Avenue on the afternoon of April 29.
Within the past month, North Riverside police have documented at least seven such instances of vandalism.
Pit bull bolts yard, bites dog
Brookfield police cited a resident of the 3900 block of Madison Avenue for having a dog at large after her pit bull escaped the yard and sprinted toward a 57-year-old Brookfield woman walking eastbound with two Shiba Inu dogs in the 9300 block of Burlington Avenue on May 3 at about 9:15 a.m.
The pit bull did not bite the woman, but she sustained scrapes to her elbow and knees after falling in the street while trying to run away. The pit bull did reportedly attack one of her dogs, but it did not appear to have sustained any serious injury.
The pit bull's owner was able to get the dog back inside her house after hearing commotion outside.
These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Riverside, North Riverside and Brookfield police departments, April 27-May 3, 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.