Robberies, theft reported in River Forest

Three incidents on July 16 result in two arrests

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By Nona Tepper

Two juveniles have been charged with theft and robbery, and an armed robbery suspect remains at large, following three incidents in River Forest on July 16.

The armed robbery took place around 9:10 p.m. near the intersection of Chicago and Franklin avenues and appears to have involved an offender following the victim home from a Forest Park business.

According to police, an offender described as between 40 and 50 years old, about 5-foot-2 to 5-foot-5 and wearing a mask and a light-colored hooded sweatshirt, approached the victim and demanded a piece of jewelry the victim was wearing. Police Chief James O'Shea said the man displayed a dark-colored firearm.

The victim responded by yelling at the man and throwing her purse to the ground. The man ran east on Chicago Avenue without taking her purse and jewelry.

"Officers from several communities, including a K-9 from the North Riverside Police, responded to the area and conducted yard to yard searches," a press release from the River Forest Police Department stated. "It is believed the offender fled in an awaiting vehicle."

 Police believe the man had been following the woman, targeting her after seeing her shopping at a business in Forest Park earlier in the evening.

There are no suspects in custody and the incident is part of an ongoing investigation the department is conducting with nearly departments, including Forest Park. O'Shea said the department is reviewing "a lot" of surveillance footage related to the incident.

Pair arrested after stealing purse, backpack

Earlier that night, police arrested two Chicago juveniles for allegedly stealing a purse from a senior citizen at Walgreens, 7521 Lake St., and robbing another juvenile of a backpack and cellphone in the area of Monroe and Oak avenues between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

 Police arrested the boys around 7:30 p.m. and recovered all of the items stolen. The offenders were transferred to the Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago.

River Forest police believe the boys also were involved in thefts in Oak Park and Forest Park, and detectives are working with police in those communities.

"They came into River Forest to commit crimes and … in some other communities even before River Forest, [they] were involved in some other criminal activities, which are still under investigation," O'Shea said.

O'Shea stressed that the three incidents do not frequently occur in the village, but he urged residents to be aware of their surroundings, stay alert and report crimes to 911.

"We haven't had similar incidents in River Forest, and last night was a busy night for officers," O'Shea said. "They made some arrests and they responded accordingly to in-progress calls."

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