SUV hijacked at gunpoint in River Forest driveway

Cops: Gang members responsible for carjacking 'plague'

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By Nona Tepper

Two armed offenders stole a man's SUV after he pulled into a driveway on the 500 block of Monroe Street in River Forest at about 6 p.m. Jan. 19, according to a press release from the River Forest police department. 

According to the press release, the victim has just parked his SUV in the driveway of his home when two armed males, possibly juveniles, got out of a maroon Chevy Impala and stole the victim's vehicle.

Both vehicles were last seen heading east on Lake Street. Police from River Forest, Oak Park, Forest Park and Chicago searched for the offenders without success. 

"Carjacking crimes are plaguing the city of Chicago, Oak Park, Forest Park, Maywood and Elmwood Park, as well as DuPage County towns such as Elmhurst," the release reads. "The majority of these crimes are being committed by Chicago gang members from the west and south sides of the city." 

According to the press release, River Forest police have stepped up patrols in response to the incidents in addition to targeted efforts by regional police task forces. own offenders. 

The River Forest Police Department also provided tips to help residents prevent themselves from being victimized:

  • Always keep your doors locked and windows up, whether you are inside or out of your car.
  • When stopped, keep at least one car length between your and the car in front of you.
  • Keep your purse and other valuables in your trunk or out of sight.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Keep watch for individuals approaching your car to ask directions, hand out fliers, ask for money or a ride.
  • Before parking your car on a street or in your driveway, make sure you are not being followed. If you suspect you're being followed, drive around the block once or twice to make sure it's safe to park.
  • Be aware of bump-and-ride-style offenses, in which a car containing at least two people lightly rear ends or bumps your car. In this instance, once you exit your car one of the offenders will exit and attempt to drive off with your car while you are evaluating the damage. Law enforcement professionals recommend not exiting your vehicle immediately and slowly determining if it is truly an accident or an intentional act. If you sense that it may have been intentional, drive to the nearest police station or well-lit public area.
  • Keep your phone charged and readily available at all times. Do not use your phone while driving. Offenders look for victims who appear distracted.
  • Keep your car keys and house keys separated.
  • Invest in car-tracking services.
  • Do not leave your car running unattended for any reason.
  • If you are a victim of a carjacking, do not argue or fight with offenders. Immediately leave your car and belongings and call 911. 




Reader Comments

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Christine Vernon  

Posted: January 29th, 2018 12:26 PM

Re my comment below including a link to West Cook News, I now realize that it is not a credible source. The article is unattributed and their site lists no publisher, owner, or staff. They did not return my phone call inquiring about that. The sources of the figures and conclusions in the West Cook News article are not named, which makes it impossible to determine the reliability and accuracy of the information. My mistake to post that article. Here is an article from a reputable source, The Civic Federation of Chicago, "Property Tax Burden In Northeast Illinois".

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 24th, 2018 10:31 PM

@Bruce Kline: Beg to differ, the present condition can be proved, however government or the citizens must communicate, directly with the officers with the promise that their identity will kept secret from police management because of the fear of retribution from above. The authority of rank can not and will not direct or make an officer their life for a public they see will not back them. Before you can reach for the sky, do the impossible you must have a stable platform. Bum Phillips, the old coach of the Houston Oilers said there are only two bad football players, a player who has to told what to do and a player who will only do what he is told. the 91% increase in calls for service tell me both is happening. did you notice that at all the meetings, there was not one patrol officer present. Ever wonder why?

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 5:14 PM

Well Brian, interesting speculation. Of course, while plausible, none of it can be proved, and you will receive a lot of push back as well. What is obvious to me - and should be obvious to others - is the police can not be everywhere. The Guardian Angels are not coming (despite a plea from some desperate citizen). The reality is this: You (meaning us) are are largely responsible for your own safety. For some that will mean acquiring a CCL. And then training ... and training some more. For others it will mean inviting Mr. Mossberg or Mr. Benelli or both into their homes. Some will continue to shake in fear behind closed doors, peeping out behind their curtains, moaning "whoa is me, how could this happen in social justice politically correct, full of love, Oak Park?" And then for many I suspect, nothing will change. Each of us will have to make a very personal decision. I know I have made mine.

Tad Wefel  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 4:50 PM

Anyone heard from Senator Don Harmon on any of this? The soldiers on the front lines are being left out to dry by our political leaders here IMO.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 4:41 PM

Auto hijackings were 5 in 2016 and 17-18 in 2017. The police chief said he had enough manpower to handle to increase, but he accepted 10 more new officers. The police chief this offense is happening in other communities. Little comfort. The police chief said staffing changes will be made. No real results. Is it time to look outside the box. Is there a Fergueson effect in action? Last year there was a 91% in crease in calls for service. A huge jump. Are the rank and file afraid of doing there job and being hounded by social justice warriors? is the rank and file doing their job completely and going thru motions for their safety ?Does upper management administer and supervise officers? You administer wills, supervise children. Police officers need leadership. Do exempt rank officers teach their greatest arrests to the rank and file and to they teach the rank and file how to make arrests? or is this a do as I say scenario, or don't do what I have or haven't done?It is time to speak directly to the blue shirts, by printed inquiry, and find out from them what needs to be done, and how and why the present system is not working. we have heard from everyone else.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 4:40 PM

Brian: is it possible to have a "cut off ignition power" switch activated remotely via a phone app as well as remote activation of the locks? That's what I was thinking.

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 4:25 PM

@ Bill McClung: "get you a local garage to fit a hidden power switch to cut off ignition power. I might add and to lock the doors with them inside until the police show up.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: January 23rd, 2018 4:16 PM

Bridgett, thanks for pointing out the reasons for the increase in carjackings. Actually, it will make me feel so much better when and if the time comes when I have a 9mm trained on my head, by some poor misunderstood little bubula. At least I'll know why. But seriously your explanation actually shows why Lita's narrative is so naive that it borders on disbelief. Can someone actually be so na´ve? I guess so. As you say this is largely about stealing. It's not about hate, or us being the enemy at all. This is all about business economics. And what could be more American than business (well maybe motherhood and apple pie and the flag, but no matter)? And stealing is a business. Granted it's a criminal business, but a business none the less. And we ?" self loathing, largely defenseless, na´ve gun adverse Oak Parkers ?" are on the supply side. That's all. The cars, as always ?" whether hijacked or stolen in the ole traditional way - have enormous value on the street or in the chop shop (I hope the cops are looking for those shops by the way). The cars are the product in trade which we supply ?" at relatively low cost and risk to the procurers (as apposed to say a less "liberal", gun friendly community with a relatively high incidence of CCL). So this is largely about business. Now when the cost of doing business gets too high (like for the poor fools who stole from the Godfather, Mr. Arccado, some decades ago) then this car jacking business will cease ?" at least in Oak Park. But only then. But for now I suspect the ROI is just too tempting.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 10:51 PM

I work with gang members and ex offenders and I can tell you from personal experience that 90% of them want absolutely nothing to do with what you have to say. These are young men who typically grew up in a single parent home, never saw a parent go to work and have absolutely no shame in being a criminal and the thought of working to the age of 65 and then retiring is as foreign to them as speaking Greek. Even when they have mentors they continue to make poor life decisions. Most that we place with employment rarely last more than a few weeks even when barriers like child care, transportation, work attire, etc. are removed. A lot of them quit because their supervisor 'disrespects" them". Meaning, they are held accountable. If they have tattoos on their face, that is a clear indication they are 100% committed to their criminal lifestyle and are giving society the middle finger. With that, there are some that want to turn things around and we need to seek them out and help them as much as we can.

Re Na  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 9:17 PM

Liita Forsythe, I highly suggest you watch the Netflix series called Dope. There's an episode that specifically focuses on the gangbangers on the west side of Chicago. The chicago gangbangers interviewed in this docu series specifically state that they are addicted to killing, they do not care if there are women or children around or what time of day. Then ask yourself if you really want to go over there. You have never lived that life and I can tell you that they are definitely not interested in what a white woman from oak park river forest has to say. Your intentions are good, but I highly suggest you educate yourself about West Side gangbangers. It's eye opening to say the least.

Jimmy Horvath from River Forest  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 8:22 PM

Why have you not included a description of the carjackers? Might be a strong bit of information to those hoping NOT to get carjacked. Thanks

Francis X. Maritote from Oak park  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 7:23 PM

Mr Garcia posted the most sensible post. Some of the others are out in laws land. Wake up, no carjacker is going to have any mercy on you because you understand his plight. You try reaching out to him while he points a gun in your face. Thanks mr Garcia for a reality check

Bridgett Baron  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 6:50 PM

Liita, Here a few organizations in the area, that may be of interest to you... 1) Mission USA: 2) GRIP Outreach for Youth 3) By The Hand Club for Kids

Christine Vernon  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 11:58 AM

There is just no question that in an urban setting in Chicago these days, public safety has got to be a top priority everywhere. Iit will be good if some of the incredible budget for the Village of Oak Park ( is redirected to support public safety programs able to insure each person's inalienable right to" life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all" guaranteed in the constitution, because it sure as hell ain't guaranteed right now and it is getting worse everywhere!!

Liita Forsyth  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 11:16 AM

This is a deep spiritual problem among kids who have completely lost hope and in doing so have created terrorism in our community. If these offenders are ever caught, it would completely blow their minds if we as a community reached out to them and their families to build a bridge and a take this out of the darkness and shine light on it. I'm angry that I have to look behind my back constantly. But I don't believe it will just go away unless we do something radical to show them that we are not their enemy. They obviously feel self-justified and full of hatred. What if a pack of parents entered their community and reached out a hand? Would anyone go with me if I found a venue?

Bridgett Baron  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 11:04 AM

A significant reason why carjackings happen, not just in Oak Park and River Forest, but around the country (in densely populated cities and suburbs) is because car alarms and anti-theft devices have advanced so much. The old-fashioned way of stealing cars doesn't work for the most part, so the thief needs the car to be running in order to be able to steal it.

Alex Garcia  

Posted: January 22nd, 2018 10:43 AM

Had enough folks? As it stands, Oak Park and Rover Forest are now averaging three or four carjackings per week. To put that into perspective, if the trend continues (and there are no reasons to think it would not), that averages out to 150+ carjackings per year. The gangbangers who do this (mostly for kicks or to commit other crimes) simply do not care how much you value Socialism or admit your white privilege or whether OPRF are sanctuary cities. You are simply viewed as prey who will give them what they want on demand. I could go on about root causes for their mindset, if it can even be called that, but I suspect that you will continue to blame yourselves, or me, or someone else other than those who commit the crimes. Meanwhile, the docile police won't catch them, the Cook County State's Attorney won't prosecute and the Cook County judiciary will let them go on recognizance bonds in the off-chance they are actually caught and prosecuted. But you don't want to admit any of that as Leftists. As persons, I'm wondering when you'll start seeing this as an existential threat worthy of your serious consideration.

Bill McClung  

Posted: January 21st, 2018 1:12 PM

Get you local garage to fit a hidden power switch to cut off ignition power.

Kline Maureen  

Posted: January 21st, 2018 12:38 PM

this is all calling to mind that old Jimmy Soul song paraphrased to the effect of "drive a beat-up, older model car" (If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife . So from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you.)

Michael Ross from Oak park  

Posted: January 21st, 2018 10:42 AM

Discriptions would always be helpful

Sally Noble  

Posted: January 21st, 2018 10:03 AM

I would add: Don't sit and use your phone or other device after pulling into your driveway, garage, or parking space.

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