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Lake Forest man charged after suspicious package shut down Metra trains

Updated: November 6, 2013 6:07AM

LAKE FOREST — A Lake Forest man faces charges of disorderly conduct, after he left a suspicious package at the East Lake Forest Metra station on Friday that shut down train service on the Metra Union Pacific/North Line for more than an hour and a half.

Charles E. Mills, age 30, of 1301 N. Western Ave., Lake Forest, was scheduled to appear in Lake Count bond court later Friday. Police said officers tracked the suspect to a nearby drugstore bathroom, where he had locked himself inside and was inhaling, or “huffing,” chemicals.

But no explosives or hazardous materials were found at the station, and trains resumed service just before 11 a.m.

Trains initially shut down just after 9 a.m. Friday, when railroad officials called Lake Forest police to report a man who placed a large duffel bag about 15 feet from the railroad tracks, north of Westminster Road. They described him as white with a heavy beard, wearing a camouflage jacket, heavy black boots, a baseball cap and carrying a backpack.

Two Union Pacific maintenance workers saw the suspect then walk away from the bag, police said, which was located approximately 200 yards north of Lake Forest’s east side train station.

Officers shut down car and foot traffic near the scene and contacted Waukegan Fire Department’s Bomb Unit to help. Simultaneously, officers began searching for the suspect, and found Mills inside of CVS Pharmacy, 500 N. Western Ave., where he had locked himself in a bathroom.

They evacuated the store, gained entry to the bathroom and officers said they found Mills huffing two cans of computer keyboard cleaner he had stolen.

No hazardous materials were found on him at the time of arrest, police said.

Lake County State’s Attorney Officials charged Mills with disorderly conduct, use of intoxicating compounds and retail theft.

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