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Burglaries and Suspicious Activity Reported on Caroline and Fay Streets Tuesday

Crimes were committed during daylight hours.

A resident of the 200 block of North Caroline Street told police that when she arrived home at 2:46 p.m. Dec. 6, her front door had been kicked in. She said she didn't immediately notice anything missing, but her husband would look through the house when he got home.

In what police believe may be a related incident, a neighbor on Caroline told police at about 1:30 p.m. the same day, three people pulled up to his front door in a blue Toyota and began banging and pulling on the screen door. The man answered the door, and he was met by a suspect who "appeared stunned and agitated." The suspect asked if he knew where a certain intersection was in town. When the homeowner said no, the subject got into the vehicle and took off.

At about 3:15 p.m. Dec. 6, police received a call for a burglary on the 600 block of West Fay Street. A babysitter reported to police that she picked up the homeowners' children at school, and when she arrived at their home, the front door was open. Officers discovered pry marks on the front door. Several rooms in the house were disturbed and items were thrown about. The crime occurred between 8 a.m. and 3:10 p.m., according to the police report.

A short time later, the homeowner arrived and noticed several missing items: a Sony Handicam worth $1,000, a Sony Playstation 3 worth $300, an Apple MacBook and a Dell computer.

According to the police report, witnesses saw a gray Ford box-type van and a smaller-sized silver SUV with a black roof pull into the driveway. Neither vehicle had ever been seen at the home before.

These incidents follow a string of .

Stewart Levine December 08, 2011 at 01:03 PM
I personally would prefer to see some vigilante justice, anything else they would be getting off too easy. maybe someone could lay a trap with motion detectors or night vision cameras, and if you catch them say there are 3 of them and you take atleast one of them out in front of the others with a shot gun and some dragon's breath shotgun shells, bolo shells, or flechette shells it would be a good laugh when it makes it on the 5'o clock news so that way we can watch barney fief n'crew show up scratch'n their heads and hear them give us a press conference and explain that citizens around here dont f around... people would figure it out real quick. we might even win an illinois governor's hometown award
Dave Noble December 08, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Wow, this is getting scary. Why isn't there a description provided of the person who took off in the blue Toyota? What's going on with the Neighborhood Watch group organized by Jim Court?
Jim Court December 08, 2011 at 01:47 PM
Dave, We have just started but will be moving forward aggressively in the near future.
Steven Weissmann December 08, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Jim, You might want to make it a oint of emphasis for people in the watch group to write down the license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles. That is an easy way to expedite the investigation of such crimes. Also, your group should write down descriptions of any suspicious individuals IMMEDIATELY and call the police at once to advise them of the suspicious activity. Writing down the description of both the vehicle and people acting suspiciously, will help to avoid the problem of the witness forgetting facts that may be useful.The citizen that answered his door did a lot wrong. He should have walked out the door and looked at the MODEL of the vehicle, along with the plate number. having nothing but the color and make of the vehicle is not a lot to go on. he might have gotten a description of the guys in the car that way too. I guess the Elmhurst PD is too busy writing tickets to patrol the neighborhoods and protect it's citizens from real crime....too bad.
Jim Court December 08, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Steven, Many people have commented on what they believe is excessive ticket writing designed to increase revenues and overtime for the Police. What do you base this belief on? Perhaps others would comment on this. This seems to be a nationwide phenomena, perhaps the result of declining tax revenues. If this is true it is just another form of fee and tax escalation based on the pretext of public safety. What do other readers think about this?
Holly December 08, 2011 at 03:44 PM
And we could use the help of people leaving pointers here....
jolana December 08, 2011 at 03:48 PM
Dear Jim, First of all, I sincerely appreciate your efforts in coordinating a Neighborhood Watch Effort. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the meeting Sunday and I am wondering if perhaps there is a website, or printed material available that I might distribute to my neighbors. With people as busy as they are, especially at this time of year, I see my neighbors very infrequently. I would love to be able to ring their doorbells and pass along a link or any other helpful info. Thank you again and may you and your family enjoy a Peaceful Holiday Season.
Cronan December 08, 2011 at 03:58 PM
I too am sorry I could not make the meeting. I just added 2 watch poster/pictures to this article. All we need to do is print one and hang it in our front window. Then knock on your immediate neighbors doors and offer them one as well. You can print as many as you wish and do your whole block (just click on photo, right click and hit save image as...). If everyone does a few, it will generate awareness!! Maybe the patch could do another article and include the photos.
Lived in 5 other metro areas... December 08, 2011 at 04:28 PM
Thanks everyone for reaching out to help each other stay safe. No thanks to the ones complaining. I grew up in Hillside and Berkeley and we used have a 'Helping Hand' in our front door window. The red hand, like a Colorform cling, was probably about 8 1/2 x 5" - a symbol to our neighborhood that we were on the watch. It was also a tip to neighbors/kids that they could knock on our door and have a safe place to be until police arrived. (No cracks about safety or the lack of safety now in those towns.) This was over 45 years ago. Elmhurst was quite elite back then...not that we're not now, of course. I like our 'watch' group, Jim. Thanks and keep up the good work. Could we make our posters available for pick up at city hall?
Adam December 08, 2011 at 04:35 PM
descriptions of these people would help
Dave Noble December 08, 2011 at 05:31 PM
The complaints here about the police department just kill me, and it's not just in this article. I see it all of the time: (1) Two officers in a patrol car by the railroad tracks, watching for people to cross before the gates are up. Since it was 5 p.m. (and dark), how do you know the second person wasn't a non-officer? What if one was training the other? (2) Pulling people over for seatbelt violations. As you probably know, these are often an exercise to look for drivers who have been drinking. In both cases, PEOPLE ARE BREAKING THE LAW. Gee, how do we enforce laws? I have no idea. Maybe the police should patrol for traffic violations. I mean, this can go around and around with people telling others how to do their job. What if, God forbid, a couple of pedestrians were struck by speeding cars? Would these same voices speak out about the police "wasting their time" on other tasks? Nearly everyone I've ever known has occassionaly, if not often, broken traffic laws. If you don't like the job the police do, run for office or move. Okay, maybe that's me getting a bit ridiculous, too. But have these voices ever done anything to change what they see a waste of police time? To Patch editor Karen, I think it would help Jim Court and everyone else if you could supply a map with all of these recent break-ins. Even though it may not indicate where future burglaries will occur, it could serve as a reminder to residents that it (seems to be) happenning everywhere.
Lived in 5 other metro areas... December 08, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Me, too, Dave! I feel the same way, I've had only good experiences with the police here. I started to write a similar reply and stopped. The complainers take every opportunity to hear themselves talk. Thanks for saying what the majority think...
Karen Chadra (Editor) December 08, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Hi Dave, If you look to the right of the story above, you'll see a map with all the burglary locations from the past two burglary stories. I try to do that whenever possible with every crime in the police and fire stories, not just burglaries. The burglaries seem to be fairly spread out through town. The police chief said there is always an increase in burglary during the holiday season. How festive.
Doremus Jessup December 08, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Dear Mr. Noble. Yes, not wearing a seat belt is breaking the law, but so is breaking and entering. Luckily we haven't heard of anyone getting hurt so far from burglars but what happens when someone startles a burglar and instead of running the burglar gets violent? I think what a lot of the people here are saying is we need to shift focus on to the burglaries and less on traffic stops. I have written this before, if you have so much of the force trolling for D.U.I's at 2:00 a.m. obviously those same officers are off duty during these brazen day light robberies. Many of us citizens hope that the policy makers will shift their focus.
Dave Noble December 08, 2011 at 07:01 PM
I agree with (the other) Dave that there is nothing wrong with questioning how the police are using their resources. It's the assumptions that the police aren't doing the right job or the assumed knowledge of how the police are concentrating on the areas of need. The above comment from Doremus is a perfect example: "obviously those same officers are off duty during these brazen day light robberies". Is it obvious? Just how many officers are working each shift Doremus, since you "obviously" have the insight on police scheduling. That being said, it's an excellent point, Doremus, that we've been lucky so far that there are no reported injuries. I cringe to think about that babysitter (a teen?) and the kids she's watching stumbling upon a burglary in progress. And I, too, would like to know if the police are shifting their focus, as Doremus points out. Karen says the police chief states that "there is always an increase in burglary during the holiday season". I'm sure this is true, but doesn't it seem like there is more going on this year than in the past? And have the past increases resulted in more burglaries during the day? If I'm correct, then I think the police should address this issue and tell the community what it being done. People are obviously scared and worried.
Deke December 08, 2011 at 07:20 PM
And in all fairness, it is entirely possible the police have stepped up their efforts in preventing burglaries but are unable to publicly talk about it in detail without jeopardizing the effectiveness of the operation. But you are right (Dave N), the department should make some conspicuous statements to at least assure the residents that efforts have been stepped up -- that in itself might deter the thieves.
jolana December 08, 2011 at 07:32 PM
I must add that I have seen an increased Police presence in our area. Also, thank you to the unfortunate resident that was burglarized and sent hundreds of emails to put people on alert. Awareness is the first step to thwarting these thugs.
Anonymous December 08, 2011 at 09:21 PM
First an foremost everyone should be aware of what the laws are and how the police area allowed to enforce them. A burglar is in and out of your house within 5 minutes. Just think about the odds taht it would be for any police department to catch and come upon a burglary in progress. Even if these burglars are out walking around at 1pm in the afternoon and a police officer sees them walking. police dont have reasonably grounds to place a "stop" on him. just think then for everyone here, you would be stopped and questioned any time you are out walking, its just not plausable. the police still have to follow the law and not impose on peoples rights. if you look at the burglaries, most are for cash and jewelry, small items that can be concealed on ones body. im sure the burglars blend in and dont make it obvious when they are walking down the street. learn and understand the law and how the police cant violate ones rights. there simply enough police out there to be able to catch a burglar in progress and the odds are probably 1 in a 100,000. its up to the citizens and neighbors that are home to call the police during the day. as i have said before, there might be 10 officers on at any one time. and within 5 minutes a burglar is in and out. 10 people can not cover a population of 45000 people and see everything Why does everyone think they are doing duis at 2pm and in the afternoon. quit being stubborn and look at the blotter. all of the duis are after 10pm to 4am.
Deke December 08, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Well, that's an excellent point. No matter how many officers are on the beat, the odds of that officer actually being in the same location as a burglar exiting a house at the exact same time he is leaving are pretty slim. Plus there are constitutional limits on an officer's authority to stop/search people on the street. The key is for the police to have maximum visibility to deter offenders from taking a chance and breaking into a home in the neighborhood. Berkeley actually seems to do a pretty good job of that -- you cannot drive anywhere in town without encountering at least one police vehicle. Of course, that's a much smaller town. Maybe Mr. Levine's approach in the first post is the best idea.
Jim Court December 09, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Dave and Anonymous, You both bring up good points. Berkeley is mentioned. I wonder how many officers are on duty based on square mileage and population. How would Elmhurst compare. They also do not have to deal with the heavy traffic that North Ave, and Route 83 have. People who do drugs are often bold and aggressive thrill seekers and sometime sociopaths. They are also impulsive and cannot empathize with others so stealing does not bother them. They look for the quick and easy dollar. As for maximum visibility, I suggest that all City cars be made to look like Police cars. Why not? I would also have citizens who are trained by the police and willing to volunteer, to have antennas place on their vehicles and perhaps dedicated cellphones. Thieves need to be very unsure of opportunities and the risk that is present.
jolana December 09, 2011 at 02:03 AM
Although it would have the "appearance" of greater police protection, it would not be feasible to have all City cars "camouflaged" because an upstanding citizen in time of need wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Perhaps some strong markings along the lines of Neighborhood Watch Protection Force or something like that would help. Many good points have been raised so far. I had the opportunity to drive through Berkeley today and also noticed what appeared to be a great level of police presence. It certainly doesn't hurt. Maybe the "Parking Enforcers" can be re-deployed to a more visibly painted Neighborhood Watch Vehicle and patrol. I realize significant revenue may be generated by the 10 minute violators, but that revenue will seem insignificant if no one uses the spots and property values begin to decline. I think Elmhurst has gotten more than its fair share of "negative" press lately with the Child Porn violators, DUIs, Heroin corridor, etc. Let's get some positive things going with the community pulling together and try to support our Police force with as much help as possible. Keep your eyes open and don't be shy. Call if you see any suspicious, out of the ordinary activity. We have a great town, let's keep it that way.
MaryAnn Kalis December 09, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I called police on Wednesday to report a suspicious vehicle (perhaps it was the same grey van mentioned in the article?). Police responded promptly and in force. I think you might be surprised at how few squad cars are available during the day. The police are definitely aware of this problem and are doing the best job they can. I, on the other hand, could have done a better job by getting the full plate number. I won't make that mistake again. And I encourage everyone to print those signs and post them in their windows or on their doors.
Jim Court December 09, 2011 at 04:35 AM
Jolanda, In a time of need, only a Police Car would be sent. If the building department and code enforcement vehicles appeared to be Police it would definitely create caution and reduce the probability of crime. How do you know if all of the cars in Berkeley were actually Police? The presence of Police cars definitely acts as a deterrent.
York December 09, 2011 at 03:39 PM
you can't have more police without paying them and people in Elmhurst don't want to pay more
Jim Court December 09, 2011 at 04:13 PM
You can have the appearance of more Police without the expense.This type of patrol activity could also be accomplished by individuals who are paid less to patrol and only would call the police if something was sighted but not be the the Police. We need to be creative when budgets are tight and crime is increasing.
Cronan December 09, 2011 at 05:10 PM
I printed 25 signs yesterday and will be passing them out along Spring Rd. I think I will print more and pass out to businesses so people can pick them up. Please everyone, print a stack and pass them out or leave a pile at local businesses. Again, it can't hurt!
Jim Court December 09, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Cronan, A proactive go-getter. I cannot thank you enough !
Riley December 12, 2011 at 02:39 PM
It simply amazes me how the majority of the comments are negative toward the police. NONE OF YOU ARE POLICE OFFICERS! You have no idea what a police officer has to deal with on a daily basis. Yes, they write tickets! That's part of their job. And yes, they patrol the neighborhoods in between calls and stops, searching for burglars and scumbags. Im certain each officer wants nothing more than to capture one of these creeps crawling into a some innocent person's house. Get off your high horses and quit the negative comments about the only people who are available 24/7/365 to respond and deal with the unknown, the disgusting, the filthy, the thieves, and dope users and dealers plagueing this and EVERY community! Your negativity is infectious and can only hurt the entire community more than you may think!
Rich December 13, 2011 at 12:22 PM
I'm with Riley. I have nothing but positive things to say about my experience with the police in this town. My theory is, if you aren't breaking any laws (which includes speeding and not wearing your seat belt), then you won't have any problems. If you get a ticket for one of those violations, sure you're going to be upset...but it shouldn't be with the cops. You only have yourself to blame. I feel Elmhurst is a community which continues to maintain it's prestigious reputation thanks to the diligent efforts of our police force. I know some of you mentioned how many police cars you see in the lovely community of Berkeley...but if you had to tell your friends you live in "Elmhurst" or "Berkeley"...which one would you choose? Obviously Elmhurst. A prime example is Gioacchino's Pizza, which is located at 5201 St. Charles Road in BELLWOOD. They often run an advertisement in the Elmhurst Independent Newspaper saying they are located in Elmhurst. No one wants to say their business is located in Bellwood. The next town west is Berkeley.Why didn't they just say they are located in Berkeley? ...Becuase Elmhurst is the place to be!
Stewart Levine December 14, 2011 at 08:49 PM
thing is, is that we have a problem with crime in this country because of the poor economy, and we also have a problem with our civil rights being trampled, and ignored. there must be a delicate balance riley. i'm sure any intelligent human being can understand that fact. the drug laws you mentioned are completely unconstitutional and marginalize a very large portion of society today. alot of the other stuff that goes on is pretty petty too, alot of people believe its about $$$, i'm sure that most officers are good people and want the same things we do, and care about this country as much as we do too. property crime is a much more serious issue and deserves to have closer attention paid to it. when the law defy's practicality, logic, rational thinking, and a people are marginalized, the law needs serious readdress, we seem to live in a country that is ruled by the rich and what they say seems to go... its why most people today lack empathy, are more prone to apathy....... kids are so mesmorized by technology they lack the where-with-all to maintain real human interaction.. too often do i see peoples eyes glued to their cell phone rather than looking passerbys in the eye and saying hello. what kind of community do you people want to live in, i mean really

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