Chicago resident Clarence Ervin has made the pages of our crime reports for several of his multitude of arrests – 179 as of Feb. 6. Along the way, he’s made our 2009 list of top usual suspects.

Monday, the Chicago Tribune took notice, saying his “presence on the CTA’s Green Line has instilled fear among riders.”

According to past police reports in Oak Park and River Forest, Ervin, of the 900 block of N. Waller, often refuses requests to leave businesses, as was the case on Nov. 30 inside Boston Market, at 7211 Lake in River Forest. In addition to charges of criminal trespass and panhandling, Ervin was then arrested for assault and drug possession.

Ervin’s latest arrest was for panhandling in Mancini’s Pizza, at 1038 Lake St., just before the Oak Park business moved to its new location across the street. Oak Park Commander Len Jorgensen said Ervin was panhandling and asked to leave, which he did but not before causing a ruckus. A criminal report was filed and on the afternoon of Feb. 6, police located him on the 800 block of S. Oak Park Avenue. He allegedly added to his charges when he gave a false ID to arresting officers.

“He’s becoming more belligerent,” Jorgensen said. “He’s become a constant problem. First, he was on the CTA lines, then the retail districts. Most recently, he’s been at some of the park facilities.”

The Tribune reports that Chicago police have “immediately released Ervin on his own recognizance more than 100 times,” rather than hold him over for a bail hearing. Oak Park police did hold Ervin for a bond hearing. He’s now in Cook County Jail in lieu of $17,500 bail, though there’s no guarantee he’ll stay in jail until his Feb. 22 court date.

“There’s nothing we can do but arrest him and put him back in the system,” Jorgensen said. All of Ervin’s arrests lately have been for misdemeanors, which carry a sentence of no more than 364 days in jail.

Robbery

Johnny R. Strong, 43, was arrested the morning of Feb. 2 for the attempted armed robbery of an Oak Park man on the 100 block of N. Austin. Police say Strong grabbed a pair of kitchen scissors and demanded money.

An Oak Park boy and a Westchester boy were arrested the afternoon of Feb. 1, for the aggravated robbery of a resident of the 100 block of N. Humphrey. According to a police report, the two boys punched the man and took $52 cash.

Residential, business burglary

A basement door lock on a building on the 1000 block of S. Cuyler in Oak Park was forced open during the day Feb. 7 and electronics and jewelry valued at $5,739 were stolen.

The Oak-Leyden Developmental Services building at 319 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park was entered by unknown means during the night Feb. 1 and $56 was stolen from a lockbox.

Car burglary

Around 7 p.m. Feb. 5, on the 700 block of North Blvd. in Oak Park, a man was observed breaking the side window of a car with his elbow, then reaching inside and taking a GPS device.

Overnight Feb. 3, GPS device was stolen from an unlocked car on the 800 block of S. Harvey in Oak Park.

The morning of Feb. 5, someone broke a side window of a car on the 500 block of Clarence in Oak Park and stole a wallet, $60 and electronics valued at more than $1,000.

During the day Feb. 1, $20 cash and a $10 gift card were stolen from an unlocked car parked in the lot at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

A car window was broken on the 300 block of Linden in Oak Park on the afternoon of Feb. 7, and a purse was stolen.

The night of Feb. 7, a car window on the 100 block of N. Austin was broken and a GPS device was stolen.

Overnight Feb. 2, the window of a car on the 1100 block of Park in River Forest was smashed and a purse was stolen.

Theft

Witnesses report seeing a man in his 40s, wearing a Chicago Sun-Times vest, stealing entire stacks of newspapers from a Sun-Times vending box on the 800 block of S. Oak Park Avenue over a one-week period. The man then entered a waiting van. Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 4, $128 worth of newspapers was stolen.

Two feet of copper wires was stolen from CTA train tracks on the 700 block of S. Austin the night of Feb. 3.

Eight feet of copper downspout was stolen from a garage on the 1200 block of Franklin between Jan. 26 and Feb. 2.

The afternoon of Feb. 5, two Oak Park juveniles were caught stealing merchandise at CVS Pharmacy, 345 Madison. They were turned over to their parents.

Christine Anderson, 62, of the 300 block of N. Latrobe, was arrested the afternoon of Feb. 4 for retail theft at Dominick’s, 259 Lake in Oak Park. Police said she was also wanted on an arrest warrant for retail theft elsewhere.

Barbara A. Reggans, 47, of the 5000 block of W. Congress Parkway was arrested for retail theft at Dominick’s, 259 Lake, the night of Feb. 3.

Keith Brown, 45, of the 200 block of Lake, was arrested on the 300 block of Madison the afternoon of Feb. 6 after an alleged retail theft at CVS Pharmacy, 345 Madison.

John Quintana, of 400 block of Wesley in Oak Park, was arrested the afternoon of Feb. 6 for retail theft at CVS Pharmacy, 345 Madison.

A wallet and 3-carat loose diamond were stolen from a home on the 100 block of N. Cuyler in Oak Park between Feb. 1 and Feb. 4.

DeWayne Rodgers, 40, allegedly stole $26 worth of merchandise from Jewel, at 7525 Lake in River Forest, the morning of Feb. The store declined to press charges, but police arrested Rodgers on a warrant out of Palos Hills and turned him over to that department.

Outside warrant

Emiliano Ramirez, 28, of Romeoville, was arrested the afternoon of Feb. 4, after being interviewed by detectives as part of an ongoing murder investigation. Police say he was wanted on a Cook County Sheriff’s warrant for defacing the identification marks on a firearm.

DUI

Juan H. Robago, 35, was charged with aggravated DUI after being stopped for a traffic violation on the 1500 block of William in River Forest around 1 a.m. Feb. 4.

William E. Anthony, 26, was charged with DUI after being stopped for a traffic violation on the 500 block of N. Harlem around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 5.

Battery, assault

Sheridan W. Bates, 26, of the 1800 block of S. Central was arrested around 4 a.m. for domestic battery on the 800 block of Filmore.

Luke A. Harrington, 44, of the 1100 block of Harrison was arrested for aggravated assault in his residence the evening of Feb. 1.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Oak Park and River Forest police departments from Feb. 1 to Feb. 8. 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

Crime plus

Far West suburban resident John E. Molenkamp seems to just love McDonald’s in Oak Park and River Forest.

The afternoon of Feb. 4, he arrested for the third time in two years after undercover police watching a parking lot on the 500 block of S. Austin allegedly observed a hand-to-hand drug transaction between Molenkamp and a drug dealer.

According to a police report, a search showed Molenkamp, 24, of Itasca in possession of multiple foils of heroin. He was charged with drug possession. The alleged dealer, Terry Pouncy, 51, of the 4700 block of W. Van Buren was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

In October 2008, Molenkamp, then of Wheaton, allegedly attempted to take money from the Ronald McDonald House contribution box inside McDonald’s at 624 Harlem Ave. in River Forest. Police then stopped him nearby and charged him with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. On Nov. 30, 2008, Oak Park police say they caught him in the McDonald’s parking lot at 111 Madison with a syringe filed with brown liquid in his lap, and five bags of heroin on the passenger seat.

Molenkamp received a one-year prison sentence for drug possession, and was paroled last February. He was scheduled to go off parole in two weeks.


River Forest cops: Solicitors should be polite

After catching him soliciting for a home security system company two weeks ago without a permit, River Forest police ordered Joshua Amayun, 24, to get one at village hall. Amayun did so, but the afternoon of Feb. 1, police received two calls from nervous homeowners on the 1400 block of William about a solicitor who they say wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Based on conversations with the residents and Amayun, police revoked his solicitation permit on the spot.

“We don’t have to issue anyone a permit,” said Sgt. Mike Thornley, who added that the other four people soliciting in the area were behaving appropriately and were allowed to continue their work.

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