Oak Park police, already on alert after several bike robberies last week involving Chicago teens, arrested three more Chicago teens in connection with two separate bike robberies yesterday afternoon.
The arrests bring to nine the number of Chicago teens arrested in Oak Park for bike robbery in the past 10 days, during which bikes have been taken from village kids by force or threat of violence.
At about 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon, two 12-year-old Oak Park boys riding on the first block of Pleasant Street were confronted by two 13-year-olds from Chicago. One Chicago boy grabbed the first Oak Park boy and pulled him off his bike. The other Chicago boy ordered the second Oak Park boy off his bike, and the two Chicago boys rode off eastbound on Lake Street.
The incident was witnessed by two other young people riding with the boys, who called police. The two Chicago boys were stopped a short while later and identified by the Oak Park boys.
About 90 minutes later, a 16-year-old Chicago boy approached a 13-year-old from Oak Park on a bike near Highland Avenue and Van Buren Street, grabbed her rear wheel and reportedly said, “I need this more than you.”
The incident, too, was witnessed and police were called immediately. A veteran Oak Park Street Crimes officer spotted the boy on the bike near Menard Avenue in Chicago and arrested him on the 5500 block of W. Monroe Avenue. This teen was turned over to the Cook County Juvenile Court System.
Commander Clemet Harbour said these arrests are due in large part to police quickly receiving word of the robberies and getting descriptions of the bikes and thieves.
“We need all the help we can get,” said Harbour. The quickness of the response certainly helped us get there fast.” He said such quickness is key in catching thieves from Chicago.
“With a 5-minute-old call, often they’ve already crossed the (municipal) boundaries,” he said.