Outdoor air conditioning units in Oak Park targeted by thieves for copper

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By Megan Dooley

Staff Reporter

Oak Park police have reported a string of incidents in which large air conditioning units have been targeted for their copper parts. Commander LaDon Reynolds said the department has received several reports of similar incidents within the last week.

The thefts and attempted thefts were reported between April 11 and 16. Reynolds said there is a suspect description from one of the incidents, but the police are unsure if all incidents were perpetrated by the same individual.

On April 16, a man was spotted on the 1100 block of Lyman removing a copper condenser coil from an air conditioner unit in the backyard, The offender then fled the scene on foot, heading south in the Lyman-Humphrey alley. The suspect was described as a white male in his 50s, 5-feet-7, with a medium build and gray hair.

In two other incidents, entire air conditioning units were removed. One theft occurred on the 6000 block of Roosevelt at Harrison Jewelers, sometime between April 11 and 14. The other occurred on the 1100 block of Lyman between April 14 and 15.

Another incident reportedly occurred at a location on the 700 block of Garfield between April 12 and 14. The offender removed a two-foot panel and the copper core from an air conditioning unit located behind a building.

Two attempted thefts were also reported from units on the 1000 block of S. Humphrey and on the 100 block of Lyman.

"Officers have already been alerted to these incidents," Reynolds said, and Oak Park police are on the lookout for suspects. Reynolds added that it is important for people to call the police immediately "if they hear any suspicious noises or see anyone suspicious in the area."

Theft

An unknown offender removed a Movado yellow gold necklace with a diamond pendant and a yellow gold serpentine-style necklace from the jewelry compartment of a dresser in the master bedroom of a residence located on the 1000 block of Linden between March 28 and April 4. Estimated loss is $3,300.

A man with a thin build, 5-feet-5, was observed removing a 5- to 6-foot section of copper gutter from the northwest corner of a residence located on the 200 block of S. Ridgeland on April 13. The suspect then entered a gray Honda Accord, parked in a nearby alley, and fled the scene.

Two unknown offenders were caught on a surveillance video entering a location on the 1100 block of W. Lake on April 13 and removing a black leather wallet from a victim's purse. The first suspect is described as a male 30-40 years old, 180 pounds, 5-feet-5, and the second suspect is described as a male 30-40 years old. The wallet contained credit cards, a social security card, and cash. Loss is unknown.

Someone removed approximately 15 feet of copper downspout from a residence on the 300 block of N. Taylor between March 29 and April 12. Estimated loss is $160.

A male described as being in his 30s, approximately 5-feet-9, and 165 pounds, gained entry to the Write Inn Hotel on the 200 block of N. Oak Park, April 14, and removed a cash box. Estimated loss is $210.

An unknown offender described as a tall male with a slim build was observed kicking a 10-foot section of copper downspout and removing it from the northwest corner of a house on the 300 block of N. Taylor on April 15. The suspect was last seen fleeing westbound toward an alley. Estimated loss is $500.

Someone described as a male, 30-40 years old, 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-10, with medium build and black hair, was observed removing copper downspouts from a residence on the 300 block of Forest on April 17. The offender was then seen walking southbound in the west alley between Forest and Superior. A second witness observed a man matching the description entering a tan Toyota at Superior and Forest. Estimated loss is $500.

Reckless driving

Joel L. Delgado, 18, was arrested at the corner of North Ave. and 1st Ave. on April 16 for driving 70 miles per hour in a 30-mile-per-hour zone, improper lane change, and having an open alcohol container. Delgado was also cited for having alcohol in his system under the zero tolerance law.

Solicitation of a sexual act

Henry Charles Ecker Jr., 58, of the 400 block of N. Home, was arrested on April 17 on the 8100 block of Chicago Ave. and charged with solicitation of a sexual act after he offered a victim $40 in cash to touch and photograph a male in his 30s, who went freely with the suspect to a Cook County Forest Preserve where the incident occurred.

Criminal defacement of property

Three juvenile Oak Park residents were arrested and charged with criminal defacement of property for an incident that occurred at Oak Park and River Forest High School on the 200 block of N. Scoville on April 8. One of the juveniles was also charged with possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia. All three juveniles were turned over to the custody of their parents.

Burglary to motor vehicle

An offender described as a man between 18 and 24 years old, 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-9, with a slim build, was observed using a brick to break the window of a vehicle parked on the 1200 block of N. Taylor on April 17. The offender then removed a GPS unit, coins and a black work bag from the vehicle. The suspect was last seen running eastbound in the North Ave. alley. Estimated loss is $885.

Residential burglary

An unknown offender cut the screen and broke a section of window on the rear door to gain access to a residence on the 200 block of Washington, April 15. Once inside, an Apple iPod was removed from the kitchen table and an LG 50-inch flat screen television from the living room. Estimated loss is $2,250.

Motor vehicle theft

Someone removed a blue and purple 2006 Chevy Cobalt from the 600 block of N. Taylor on April 17. Estimated loss is $5,000.

These items from April 11-19 were obtained from the Oak Park and River Forest police departments. Not all incidents that occurred are listed. Anyone named in reports has only been charged with a crime and cases have not yet been adjudicated.

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