Four armed robberies in five days in Oak Park

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

Four robberies involving guns occurred in Oak Park — three within a few blocks of one another — in the first week of 2017, according to police reports.

Three of the robberies took place a few blocks from the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard, and the fourth near the intersection of Berkshire Street and Taylor Avenue.

The first occurred on Jan. 1 at the 7-Eleven convenience store, 240 Chicago Ave., at 11:23 p.m. Two men entered the store — one of them armed with what was described as a "long-barrel, black, older revolver — and stole cash and 4-5 packs of cigarettes. Total loss was an estimated $150. The armed man was described as black, approximately 18 years old, 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-7, and wearing a black hooded jacket, black pants, with a black scarf covering his face, and red shoes. The second offender, who held the door open while his partner entered the store, was described as black, approximately 18 to 20 years old, about 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9, and wearing a black jacket and tan pants.

The next day, Jan. 2, the Domino's Pizza, 329 Chicago Ave., was robbed at gunpoint at 7:43 p.m. by two men in black ski masks and black hooded sweatshirts. The two men entered the restaurant and ordered an employee to open the register. Police did not give a description of the weapon used or how much money was stolen. The first offender was described as black, about 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11, with a medium build, and wore light-colored pants, dark gloves and dark shoes. The second man, also described as black, stood about 5-11 to 6-feet tall, and wore light-colored jeans, black and white gloves and blue gym shoes.

Two more armed robberies occurred less than hour apart on Jan. 5 — one in the 400 block of North Taylor Avenue and the other in the 100 block of Berkshire Street. Both crimes were committed by what police describe as black males approximately 16 years old.

The first armed robbery occurred on Taylor about 7:05 p.m. The two robbers approached the victim from behind and grabbed her backpack. She turned around and one pointed a handgun at her, demanding everything she had. She dropped her silver iPhone 6 with a purple case, along with $20 in cash, on the sidewalk. The other individual picked up the items and the two fled the scene on foot. They were described as wearing black winter hats and dark clothing. The loss was an estimated $620.

About 40 minutes later, two young men, approached a male victim, displayed a handgun and demanded his wallet. He turned over the black Coach wallet, containing $400 in cash, miscellaneous identification and credit cards. The two then fled on foot. They were described as teens, approximately 5-foot-8, wearing black clothing. The loss was an estimated $600.

Contact:
Email: tim@oakpark.com

Reader Comments

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Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 12th, 2017 6:55 PM

@ John H. Wilharm III : yes, the community is diverse and tolerant. The criminals are not diverse and tolerant, they hate us because we breathe, and they are deadly.

John H. Wilharm III  

Posted: January 12th, 2017 5:54 PM

How can this be happening in the OP? We are a community of diversity and tolerance.

Paul R. Murphy from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2017 2:49 PM

So...it's called reading. I didn't do that. Better get that Street Crimes team out there on the double

Paul R. Murphy from Oak Park  

Posted: January 11th, 2017 2:47 PM

What exactly is the RBO doing about all this??

John Butch Murtagh  

Posted: January 8th, 2017 2:58 PM

Bruce - give the EMBATTLED CANDIDATES Post a shot. It a lot more fun than Trump!

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 8th, 2017 2:47 PM

You know Mr. Dwyer there was actually an interesting discussion taking place before you had to interject the total irrelevance of Trump. You seem to be totally consumed and obsessed by Mr. Trump. Do you have any relevant thoughts that do not involve Mr. Trump - thoughts that actually might be a meaningful contribution to this chain?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: January 8th, 2017 9:13 AM

A www. Do not despair, Barbara. Trump is going to eliminate all local crime. Remember? Just like that. Poof! Gone. He wouldn't lie, would he?

Barbara Joan  

Posted: January 8th, 2017 8:29 AM

The police are not responsible for the murder and mayhem that has escalated over the years..They put their lives on the line to serve and protect as best they can. Criminals fear nothing when the police are not given the respect and support they deserve and require to do their jobs effectively.

Kevin Peppard from Oak Park  

Posted: January 8th, 2017 2:33 AM

RIDDING OAK PARK OF VERMIN. I'll add me two cents here. I was never a cop but I attended the ceremony at Chicago Police headquarters for the retirement of my uncle's badge, for death in the line of duty.. Mayor Daley and Superintendent Cline gave my cousin Jack the badge to place on the wall. The ultimate way to rid vermin from the streets was found in Detroit, where I lived in that area for about 15 years (I'm a native Oak Parker). The Police unit was called STRESS (Stop The Robberies Enjoy Safe Streets). That was the most dangerous police work conceivable. Police worked as decoys. They dressed as bums , drunks, old men, cripples, and yes, even as ladies (only the small clean shaven men could do that). They would have back up.similarly dressed half a block away.. In the three years of STRESS, they killed 22 felons, wounded many others, and the crime rate in Detroit plummeted (this was the early seventies). It made a Charles Bronson movie look like family fare. An average of 250 felony arrests were made each month. That little old lady at midnight just might be packing a .357 Magnum. STRESS became too big for its britches, with a 007 attitude (licence to kill). In an incident known as the Rochester Street massacre, a STRESS unit mistook a group of armed, off-duty Sheriff's deputies in their civies as thugs. The shootout left one deputy dead, one blinded, and two wounded, and a STRESS officer wounded. It made the OK Corral look like a child's birthday party, in this cop-on-cop shootout, where each group thought the others were criminals. Three STRESS officers were charged with 2nd degree murder, but acquitted. Read about it at this link: http://www.robertankony.com/blog/the-rochester-street-massacre We're probably not ready for STRESS, and Oak Park Officers are not trained for it. Here's the Catch 22: anyone who would volunteer for that is probably a bit of a psycho anyway. But it sure cleaned up the crime wave for awhile. STRESS was disbanded by a new Mayor.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 7th, 2017 7:08 PM

The question at hand is not where is the Community Policing Unit, but where are all the other units, what are they contributing and working together. The failure of Community Policing is that one single officer is designated to communicate with the residents and the rest of the other officers either can not or will not communicate with the residents. This is false and misleading and leads to a separation of the community policing officer and the uniformed officers, because uniformed officers, educated and trained can communicate. Prior to becoming the community policing officer for NW Oak Park, I was sent for training w/State Police. On the first day of class I was told that community policing has its roots in Team policing in Springfield, Ill in the 70s. I had a good laugh at that because I had come full circle, I was one of the original members of Team II in 1976, which was a volunteer east side unit of 30 officers who worked the same area 24 hours a day. We as police officers were forced to hand off assignments and problems ie. communicating from shift to shift in order to get the job done. Community Policing is a poor replacement for Team Policing because there is little inter action between community policing and any of the other units in the department. Upper management can not and will not see this because the are dependent on federal funds not results. As a uniformed officer on the permanent midnight shift, my community policing officer would send me memos to check on a Pace bus parked in front of the apartment building 400 lake at 4 Am, making a noise complaint. I would routinely find something, anything else to do at 4AM and send the memo back, unable to attend to the problem. Becoming a community policing officer, I was then forced by my own actions to get up at 4AM and take care of my problems. Community policing is inept and incompetent at times when compared to Team policing. .

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 7th, 2017 4:20 PM

Mr. Jones: I too believe the OP police do a fine job. But you, me and Ms. Tikkanen are - as far as I know - lay people when it comes to police procedures. We are not law enforcement professionals. Therefore, I did not dismiss Mr. Slowiak's criticism of the OP police force out of hand as you did, since it is my understanding that Mr. Slowiak was once an Oak Park police officer with many years of service. So his professional insights while harsh are worth considering - even as they are adverse to my (as well as your) viewpoint. Sometimes the truth is inconvenient. Might this be one of those times? I don't really know. As to Oak Park and its gun laws: Oak Park found out via the Supreme Court that it - believe it or not - is subject to the law of the land. As such, I as a holder of a valid FOID card can obtain a handgun after an appropriate "cooling off" period. Background checks are only applicable to private gun sales - not only in Oak Park but through out Illinois. Oak Park gun laws are in general, subject to Illinois State preemption.

Terence Jones  

Posted: January 7th, 2017 1:55 PM

Beating up on the police department is cowardly. They cannot be everywhere at once and criminals tend to avoid the police, or wait until they have passed by. More importantly, where did they get this gun? Or, if more than one set of miscreants, guns? Isn't it illegal to have a handgun in Oak Park without a background check and a mountain of other paperwork.

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: January 7th, 2017 7:52 AM

Our cops do an incredible job. These men and women put their lives on the line every day, making this little island of Oak Park safe. We are surrounded by some seriously crime-ridden areas. And, for the most part, they keep it outside the village limits. I have utmost confidence in them. One of the problems they have, is when they arrest juveniles, they basically have to let them go without any real repercussions. It's based on some kind of point system. Someone who knows more about that feel free to clarify.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 6:07 PM

'The beat cops need to get out there". Exempt rank upper management needs to lead, not supervise or administer. You supervise children, administer wills, however police officers must be lead in the field by superiors who have knowledge of the job. The Oak Park Police Department has none of the leadership needed to be effective in this case. Bum Phillips the coach of the Houston Oilers football team said that there are only two bad football players, one who has to told what to do and one who will only do what he is told. Without leadership, The Oak Park Police revert to being an infantry animal. They know when and how to hide for the sake of survival, and still hand in a full worksheet of meaningless labor. Patrol Officers hide in plain view if they are alone out there. A half hour for lunch, two 15 minute breaks, two 10 minute personals,and 15 minutes to check the squad car and your day is down to maybe six hours. Bum Phillips also said about leadership of another NFL coach, "He can take his'in and beat your"in, and then he can your'in and beat his'in" Leadership is and was constantly lacking at the Oak Park Police Department from decades past and now. BTW, where is the Community Policing Unit? The Detective Bureau? Where is the lower management? Where is the community support and calls?

Jolyn Crawford  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 5:57 PM

Residents need to get alarm systems and the beat cops need to step up surveillance....these are punk offenders and they need to be stopped before some gets hurt!

Susan Maienza  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 5:26 PM

The beat cops need to get out there!

David Gulbransen  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 4:40 PM

I'm far less concerned with the reporting by the Wednesday Journal than I am the *four armed robberies*. Sheesh.

John Butch Murtagh  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 3:48 PM

On January 5, 2017, three Municipal Officers Electoral Board of the Village of Oak Park conducted reviews of objections to nomination papers required on April being held on April 4, 2017. Eight people (Peppard, Barber, Malinski, Lazewski, Milstein, Brewer, Gallegos, and Takigughi) who applied for village offices are involved. The Municipal Officers have not announced any results at this time.

Bridgett Baron  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 2:45 PM

Josh, First, this is a weekly newspaper, not a daily newspaper. Second, the newspaper was probably informed today, just like I was, via my beat officer and the email list I am on to receive information like this. The email I received was time stamped 1:20 pm, and this story filed at 2:06 pm. I'd say that's a pretty decent turnaround, even for a daily newspaper. The other option would be for the reporter to look at the police reports at Village Hall every day. Considering that we have what, a total of two reporters covering a town of 50,000+, one of whom is also the editor for the Austin Weekly News, I don't think that option is feasible at the moment. Do you subscribe to the WJ, or just read the news for free online?

John Butch Murtagh  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 2:43 PM

......and no one was arrested.

Josh Hasson  

Posted: January 6th, 2017 2:15 PM

and it took a 6th day till the public was notified with this article, not exactly the place to come for cutting edge news

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