Four violent crimes in a short time period, including 3 armed robberies within 2 days has Oak Lawn residents talking, looking for solutions, demanding answers and wondering why they didn’t receive a crime alert until three days after.
The three armed robberies in two days occurred this week with criminals entering various establishments, brandishing guns and demanding money. Despite the previous claims by Trustee Terry Vorderer that crime sprees are often caused by one person, these crimes appear to have been committed by multiple suspects.
The robberies this week included Meatheads at 110th and Cicero Avenue on Monday and then on Wednesday, Mobil Gas at 103rd and Pulaski as well as Payless Shoes at 95th and Ridgeland Avenue were hit by armed gunmen.
On Thursday, three days after the first of the three robberies, the Village of Oak Lawn issued the following “crime alert”:
This is an Oak Lawn Police Crime Alert.
On 2/13/17 at 9:56 PM the Oak Lawn Police responded to an armed robbery that occurred in the 11000 block of S. Cicero Ave, Meatheads Restaurant. Witnesses reported a M/B subject in his late 40’s early 50’s, 6’01” tall, 220 lbs, scruffy beard, wearing a black doo rag under a golf style hat, with blue jeans and gray sweater/sweatshirt entered the business. A short time later the subject displayed a silver handgun and attempted to relocate the victim’s inside the business to the back of the restaurant. An alarm activated and the offender fled the scene. No injuries were reported.
On 2/15/17 at 7:39 PM Oak Lawn Police responded to the Mobile Gas Station located at 103rd and Pulaski Rd for the Armed Robbery. Investigation revealed a M/B subject entered the business, displayed a black handgun and demanded cash. The subject then fled the area. Video from the business shows a 2nd M/B subject waiting outside the business as a lookout.
No one was injured in the incident and the subjects fled the area. The subjects are described as follows:
1.) 25-30 Y.O., 5’05”- 5’10” tall, 150-175 lbs., wearing a blue hoodie and tattered partially bleached blue jeans.
2.) Unknown age, 5’05”- 5’10” tall, 150-175 lbs., wearing a dark hoodie, blue jeans, and tan shoes or boots.
A short time later at 7:47 PM Oak Lawn Police responded to the Payless Shoe Store located in the 6300 block of W 95th St for the robbery. Investigation revealed a M/W subject (Middle Eastern or Hispanic decent) and a F/B subject entered the business and appeared to be shopping. Both approached the counter and the male demanded cash from the register after threatening the clerk. No one was injured in the incident and the subjects fled the area.
The two are described as follows:
1.) The male is 20-25 Y.O., with short hair and a beard, 6 foot tall, 180-200 lbs., wearing a grey hoodie and black gloves.
2.) The female is 20-25 Y.O., 5’02”-5’05” tall, skinny build, 125-145 lbs., with shoulder length curly hair. She was wearing a black hoodie, black leggings, and black combat style boots.
All are active investigations. Anyone with information is asked to contact Oak Lawn Police at (708) 422-8292.
The tardiness of the Everbridge Alert left many Facebook commenters once again complaining about a system that seems to be poorly utilized by the administration. The comments were similar to one posted after the Subway on Cicero Avenue armed robbery a couple of weeks ago. The Village failed to alert the residents that a man with a handgun robbed the small restaurant.
The most recent robberies caught the eye of former Mayor Dave Heilmann, who posted a message on Facebook that included the realization that his own daughter escaped being in danger during the Meatheads robbery by changing her choice for dining at the last moment.
Heilmann, who served as Mayor from 2005 until being defeated by current Mayor Sandra Bury in 2013, in a campaign filled with mudslinging, noted that in the last few months of his service he had 65 people in the community that came together to form a public safety plan that was quickly discarded by Bury after the election.
Heilmann placed the blame on the current administration and its decisions for the current crime problems noting:
Safety is the number one responsibility you have in office. When you cancel the Village wide effort to develop a long term comprehensive safety plan, fire all the 911 workers, and are at constant war with the fire department and paramedics, what is that telling people who live here about a commitment from our leaders to safety?
He admitted that the plan may not have worked but questioned why the village wouldn’t try to be creative in solving the crime problem.
Trustee Robert Streit has made the increase in crime a main platform of his campaign for Mayor and has repeatedly been shut down on an idea that he has proposed to increase the presence of the police. Since 1990, the police department has utilized 10 patrols on all three shifts in any one day resulting in 30 officers patrolling the streets out of over 100 officers.
Streit has proposed having all personnel take at least one shift to increase the patrols without increasing taxes on the residents. Bury and her allies refused to consider the idea and dismissed it at a public meeting. Streit said that the idea would be an idea that constitutes a creative solution.