Five armed robberies were committed in Oak Park last week, three with a handgun and two with knives. Two teens crossed the 200 block of North Austin Boulevard into Oak Park just before midnight, July 28. Both pulled handguns on a man standing in front of his apartment building and demanded his wallet. One gunman reportedly said, “If there’s no money in here, I’m going to drop you.” The second gunman then threw the wallet on the ground and took the man’s cellphone and both men ran back across Austin.

Minutes later a man walking home from the Green Line CTA station was accosted by two men with guns who told him, “Drop everything and get out of here. We’re taking all your stuff.” When they pointed guns at the man, he screamed and ran to his nearby residence.

“It’s got to be the same people,” said Commander Clemet Harbour, who noted that police are doing interviews with various people and are preparing to conduct physical line-ups.

Harbour said he wasn’t as sure about two men who robbed a Chicago man walking on the 700 block of South Maple around 9:30 p.m., Aug. 1, after cashing a check at a nearby currency exchange. One robber approached from the front while the second man placed a hard object, assumed to be a gun, against his back. The man gave up his wallet, which contained $750.

Around 8 p.m., July 29, a man holding what appeared to be a knife stopped a woman walking on the 6600 block of North Ave. and demanded her purse. The man fled when the woman screamed. Around 10:30 p.m., Aug. 3, a man walking in the alley behind the 1000 block of Lake St. next to Austin Gardens was confronted by a knife-wielding man who took his iPod.


Artis R. Liddell, of 108 S. Austin Blvd., was arrested four times in 2007 for criminal trespass, aggressive panhandling or possession of drug paraphernalia, culminating in a 150-day sentence in Cook County Jail. The evening of Aug. 3, Liddell was arrested yet again on the 900 block of Madison St. after he allegedly knocked an Oak Park man to the ground and kicked him numerous times.

Bike thefts

A boy was arrested on the 7800 block of Central by River Forest police, the afternoon of July 29, after he was identified as the person who, among a gang of 10 kids in Keystone Park, threatened to punch and stab a River Forest youth if he didn’t give him his bike. An Oak Park boy and a Chicago boy were stopped on the 200 block of Lake around 8:30 p.m., July 31, after matching the description of those who stole a bike on the 200 block of South Boulevard earlier.

Bikes were also stolen on the 700 block of Lake, three on the 300 block of Washington, the 800 block of South Cuyler, the 700 block of South Ridgeland and the 900 block of North Harvey in Oak Park, and at Thatcher and Oak in River Forest.

Vehicle thefts

Vehicle thefts were reported on the 100 block of North Humphrey, the 100 block of South Marion, and 300 block of South Austin.


Three lengths of copper downspout, valued at $2,500, were stolen from the First Presbyterian Church, 7551 Quick, sometime in the past two weeks.

Between July 27 and Aug. 2 in the 700 block of South Oak Park, 31 feet of copper gutter was stolen off a house.

Overnight July 27, a 25-foot section of copper gutter, valued at $300, was stolen from a yard on the 1000 block of Fair Oaks.

The afternoon of Aug. 2, someone stole a PDA and car and house keys from a patron of the Oak Park Library, 834 Lake St.


A car window was smashed in the Denny’s parking lot, 711 N. Harlem, the evening of July 30. A laptop computer and DVD case containing 80 DVDs were stolen. Total loss was $2,340.

Burglars entered a residence on the 700 block of Clarence on Aug. 1, through an unlocked rear door. They stole a computer and a computer video game console.

Someone broke a window on a car on the 300 block of Madison St., overnight July 29, and stole a GPS device.

Vehicles were broken into in River Forest on the first block of Thatcher and two on the 100 block of Gale, overnight July 27.

Tools valued at $140 were stolen overnight, July 27, from a vehicle parked on the 700 block of North Blvd.

A man was observed stealing a leafblower from a garage on the 600 block of Clarence Ave., the morning of July 29. Police have the description and license plate of the car he entered.

A miter saw was stolen from an open garage on the 1000 block of South East Ave., the afternoon of July 28.

A purse was stolen from a home on the 100 block of North Elmwood, the afternoon of July 26, by someone who entered via an unlocked rear door.

Criminal damage to property

The rear door jamb on a residence on the first block of Lake Street was found to have been cracked sometime during the afternoon of July 31.

A man was observed breaking a basement window of a home on the 1100 block of South Lombard around noon, July 30. He fled when he realized he was being watched.


Craig P.J. Brakie Jr., 22, of Chicago, was found near his car by officers responding to a “remove unwanted” call on the 100 block of North Ridgeland around 3:30 a.m., August 1. Police say Brakie’s Dodge truck, containing an open bottle of vodka, had fresh front end damage, as did a flower bed and a fence. He was charged with reckless driving, DUI, no insurance and having no license.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Oak Park and River Forest police departments from July 28 to Aug. 5. 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.

-Bill Dwyer

Drunk discovers bat no match for gun

A highly intoxicated man who jumped out of a car on Austin Boulevard by Roosevelt Road late Sunday night, July 27, hurling racial slurs and swinging a bat, was shot twice by one of his would-be victims.

The shooting victim, described only as a Hispanic male, had reportedly been partying in Berwyn and got into an argument with his girlfriend. He then went for a ride with a friend to cool off. About midnight, the pair spotted several black individuals coming off the Austin Boulevard Blue Line el stop, and the drunken man told his friend to pull over so he could “mess” with them.

The man exited the black GMC Envoy with a baseball bat and confronted one of the men, spewing racial slurs. After the drunken man took two or three swings at the pedestrian, the man drew a small caliber hand gun from his waistband and shot his attacker in the upper front thigh and upper hip.

Oak Park police were called to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn where they interviewed the man who had been shot. At first he told police he was accosted while walking on Austin. However, the SUV’s driver told police the victim had, in fact, attacked the group of men because they were black.

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