On the afternoon of March 15, an elderly homeowner fell victim to what authorities call a “Gypsy scam” when she let two men posing as utility workers into her home. The suspects told the victim, who lives on the 1000 block of Garfield in Oak Park, that a water line in a nearby alley had burst and they needed to check the pipes in the basement of the home. While the homeowner went downstairs with one of the suspects, the other made quick work of an upstairs bedroom and took $2,200 in cash.

Police Cmdr. Len Jorgenson said it’s not uncommon for elderly residents who’ve survived the Great Depression to be wary of banks and opt to stockpile cash in their homes. That a scam artist is able to steal large sums of money from someone’s home isn’t necessarily a sign that the victim was targeted.

Property damage

A large window in the towering vehicle display at the Volvo dealership at 1140 Garfield in Oak Park was broken, causing an estimated $1,000 in damage. The incident is believed to have occurred between March 13 and March 17. The broken window measured 4 feet by 6 feet.

During the overnight hours of March 18, someone kicked the side of a car parked on the 300 block of S. Cuyler in Oak Park and caused $1,200 worth of damage.

The window of a Jeep Liberty parked on the first block of Harrison in Oak Park during the overnight hours of March 14 was damaged, possibly by a BB gun.

Theft

A BMX-style bike was stolen from Stevenson Park on March 21 in Oak Park at about 3:15 p.m. The bike was reportedly worth $100.

A store on the 400 block of N. Harlem had an iPhone stolen from its inventory during the evening of March 21. The item was valued at $600.

After being badgered by a man looking to trade smaller bills for larger ones, employees at Denny’s, 711 N. Harlem in Oak Park, realized the register was short $180 when the man left. The alleged theft occurred at about 8 p.m. on March 20.

An Oak Park teen had his cellphone stolen March 21 by a group of five suspects, four of whom are believed to be teenagers. The incident occurred at 7:45 p.m. near the Green Line station at 100 S. Oak Park.

A computer kept in a back office of the Salvation Army on the 6500 block of Roosevelt Road in Oak Park was stolen March 16. The item was valued at $600 and is believed to have been taken between 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.

Three unidentified men, all believed to be in their 20s, are suspected of stealing more than $800 worth of shoes March 16 from Athlete’s Foot on Madison in Oak Park. The suspects asked about several items and, when presented with the sneakers, grabbed them and ran. They were seen fleeing the area in a blue Cadillac.

Traffic

Motorists were momentarily unable to use a portion of the parking lot at 7201 Lake, the town center in River Forest, after a large boulder used in the landscaping design was knocked from its spot at about 1 p.m. on March 15. Police believe a large truck may have clipped the rock while navigating the parking lot.

Paul Barnes, 43, of Oak Park, was arrested shortly after 10 p.m. on March 20 on several aggravated traffic charges including driving with a revoked license and reckless driving.

Karen Wiedow, 46, of Oak Park, was charged with driving under the influence after she was stopped at about 3 a.m. on March 21. The arrest was made on the 400 block of S. Oak Park Avenue.

Battery

Travis McFadden, 18, was arrested March 20 in Oak Park for an alleged domestic battery that occurred on the 200 block of S. Cuyler. McFadden is a resident of Chicago.

Just before noon on March 20, Oak Park police arrested 58-year-old Francis Maritote on the 1000 block of N. East Avenue on domestic battery charges.

A Forest Park resident was arrested on battery charges the evening of March 17. Charles Williams, 56, was taken into custody at the police station in Oak Park.

Burglary

A car parked on the 800 block of Lake Street in Oak Park was burgled on March 21. The vehicle was unlocked and the suspect popped the trunk to reveal a black canvass bag containing a laptop valued at $1,140.

Sometime on March 19 or March 20, a garage on the 400 block of N. Austin was burglarized and a tool box stolen from within. The item was worth an estimated $395.

At least four cars parked in a campus lot at Dominican University in River Forest were burglarized during the overnight hours of March 16. In each case, a window was smashed and electronic items – GPS units and radar detectors – were taken. Police are waiting on surveillance footage of the area.

During the overnight hours of March 18, a car parked on the 400 block of S. Grove in Oak Park had its window smashed and a GPS unit and radar detector stolen from it. The items were valued at $550.

A garage on the 1100 block of S. Taylor was broken into the morning of March 19 and a bike worth about $800 was reportedly stolen. A vehicle parked in the garage had also been ransacked.

Sometime during the day March 16, the rear door of a home on the 1100 block of N. Grove was forced open and the house burglarized. A laptop, Wii gaming system, jewelry and other items with a total value of about $8,200 were stolen.

These items were obtained from police reports filed by the Oak Park and River Forest police departments March 15-21. 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.

-Josh Adams

Crime plus

Not on my watch

A woman walking on the 300 block of Wisconsin in Oak Park the evening of March 18 had her purse snatched by an unknown man who came at her from behind, according to police. The alleged robbery, however, was witnessed by no idle man. A brief foot chase ensued and the suspect dropped the stolen purse when the witness chased him over a fence. No injuries were reported and the woman was able to reclaim all her belongings.

Avert your eyes

Residents of the 900 block of Franklin in River Forest called police March 18 to report that a deer appeared to be injured. As it turns out, the animal had impaled itself on a fence. It was removed by members of the public works department.

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