Police investigating smiley-face vandalism

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By BILL DWYER

River Forest and Oak Park police aren't happy about the dozens of smiley faces emblazoned on sites throughout the two villages with black marker recently.

Three Oak Park teenagers were arrested June 12 in relation to vandalism with a black marking pen to signs in the Jewel parking lot at 7525 Lake St. Alex Schultz, 17, of the 500 block of South Oak Park Avenue was charged with misdemeanor criminal damage to property, while Miles Kuhr, 18, of the 300 block of Wisconsin Avenue and Maxwell Perry, 18, of the 600 block of Forest Avenue were charged criminal damage to property.

Following the three boys' release from police custody, other instances of vandalism similar to the smiley face drawn on the Jewel signage were reported on a village paramedic truck, a police vehicle, and to at least one property in downtown Oak Park. Particularly hard hit was the new pavilion building in Keystone Park, which suffered seven instances of defacement on doors, signage and even the kids climbing rock.

On June 23, River Forest police investigated vandalism to Community Bank, 7777 Lake St., that involved a smiley face, as well as to a no-turn sign at Central and Clinton.

River Forest Deputy Police Chief Kendra Sullivan said her department is continuing to investigate the additional vandalism. Attempts to reach the three boys charged in last week's Jewel signage vandalism were unsuccessful.

The smiley vandals hit the Wednesday Journal Inc. building, too. The red enamelized metal slabs on the front of 139-141 South Oak Park Avenue were tagged twice with large smiley faces drawn in black marker.

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