A man allegedly entered the Home Depot in Oak Lawn shortly after 6:30 p.m. on March 5th with open bottles of vodka offering customers and employees shots.
After Piotr Szopinski was told to leave the premises, he returned about 45 minutes later. This time he had a baseball bat and according to one witness, Szopinski was waving the bat in the air and shouting, “this is for my boss, I’m going to kill him”.
Szopinski’s boss doesn’t work at Home Depot and Szopinski soon entered the bathroom. Oak Lawn police were dispatched to the scene for a reported armed subject. The police were directed to the bathroom by several witnesses.
Inside the bathroom, the officers reported that Szopinski was in a locked bathroom stall and alleged that he was looking through the crack of the stall door at the officers. While the officers were speaking with Szopinski, they reportedly heard the sound of an aluminum baseball bat hitting the floor.
The officers continued to coax Szopinski to open the stall door and after a several attempts to convince him he did open the door. However, the police alleged that he still had the baseball bat in his hand in a manner they alleged was “threatening”. He was given verbal commands to drop the bat and did not do so according to the police, who pulled out a taser.
Szopinski was not tasered but the threat caused him to drop the bat and surrender to the police, who took him into custody. Szopinksi’s bag was searched according to the police, who alleged that he had Home Depot merchandise inside the bag. The items included diagonal cutting pliers, LED flashlight, aluminum padlock and multiple links. The value of the property was $47.69 and Home Depot alleged that Szopinski did not pay for the items.
Home Depot’s manager signed a complaint for retail theft, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass to real property. He was also charged with obstructing a police officer.
Officers believe the bat had been stolen from Target in Oak Lawn. When the police took Szopinski into custody they noted that the bat was still in its original packaging and had not been used on the baseball field. Target signed a complaint for retail theft claiming Szopinksi entered the store the same night, selected the bat from the inventory and placed it in his cart. According to the charges, Szopinski left the store without paying for the baseball bat.
Szopinski is a 39 year old white male with a Chicago address. His court date is Friday, March 22nd at the Bridgeview Courthouse.