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North Chicagoans alerted to burglary, robbery spree

Updated: October 1, 2012 5:50PM

NORTH CHICAGO — Police are distributing flyers to alert residents on the northeast side of the city about a recent spate of home break-ins and armed robberies.

Police Lt. Tony Theis said Thursday an arrest had been made that morning of a possible burglary suspect.

About four house burglaries and three armed robberies have been reported over the past two weeks in an area between 14th and 18th Streets and from Sheridan Road west to Jackson Street, Thies said.

“It’s not like we’ve got a huge rash,” he said. “But we are concerned. The problem is mobility. Criminals might hit an area for a week or two then they move on.”

Citizens should be vigilant and “be aware of a possible offender,” according to a police flier that described “a black male in his mid-20s, wearing a white T-shirt and black pants, about 6-feet-tall with a thin mustache” and displaying “a black handgun.”

Black and Latino males, acting singly and in groups, have accosted people between 9 and 11 p.m., according to the flier, which also contains information on precautions. The attacks echo a rash of armed robberies on Waukegan’s Near North Side in June and July, in which people walking after dark were targeted.

At least one recent burglary and one home invasion in North Chicago occurred in the area of 17th and Victoria streets. Joseph Neumann, a lifelong resident of that area, said two of his neighbors were recently hit.

In one, burglars made entry after pushing-in a window air-conditioning unit. In another, they jimmied a combination storm and screen window.

In the latter incident, the resident was in her kitchen when she heard a noise in the bedroom. She walked in and confronted two men who fled after she screamed, Neumann said.

Another break-in was reported in the 1900 block of Grove Avenue.

“We need to alert people that this is going on, so they can take precautions so they won’t be victimized,” said Neumann, a member of the city’s now-defunct COPS, Community Oriented Policing Services and a former Neighborhood Watch organizer.

“Unfortunately, we have quite a few abandoned houses,” Theis said. “We’ve had a couple instances where they (offenders) thought they (houses) were abandoned and someone was actually home. There was no instance of physical contact or violence. It’s still a crime. But it’s not like we got this organized burglary ring that’s operating out of here.” Neumann, a graduate of the city’s Citizen’s Police Academy, was attacked and robbed outside his home on a winter evening in 1990.

“It’s something you don’t forget,” said Neumann, who said he has also warned members of his parish, Most Blessed Trinity, Queen of Peace site, on 14th Street.

“Forewarned is forearmed,” Neumann said.

“We’re always willing to take information,” Theis said

Anyone with information is asked to call (847) 596-8774 or (847) 596-8741.

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