By Megan Dooley
A man suspected of stealing copper downspouts from two different Oak Park homes was arrested Monday and charged with two counts of felony theft.
Tyree Gregory, 56, of the 1100 block of S. Homan Ave. in Chicago, was also wanted on two outstanding warrants from the DuPage County Sheriff's Department, for criminal trespass to property and for driving with a suspended license.
The first theft occurred on April 13 at a residence located on the 200 block of S. Ridgeland Ave. A suspect was observed removing some six feet of a copper gutter from the residence, and fleeing the scene in a car described as a Honda Accord.
On April 17, a home on the 300 block of Forest Ave. was also targeted for its copper downspouts. A witness observed a suspect remove the copper downspouts and head southbound in the west alley of Forest and Superior. Another witness spotted a man a short time later, entering a car described as a tan Toyota, at the corner of Forest and Superior.
Oak Park police Commander LaDonn Reynolds said police were able to make the arrest based on information provided by the witnesses, including the descriptions and a license plate number. "We were able to track that information down and develop him as a suspect," he said of Gregory.
There have been a number of incidents reported recently about copper thefts in Oak Park. Police also reported a string of incidents in which outdoor air conditioning units were targeted for their copper parts. Those incidents occurred between April 11 and 16.
Reynolds said there are scrap metal yards in the area that will purchase the copper.