Police remind residents of importance of locking cars
by BRIAN NADIG
The recent arrests of suspected car burglars should serve as a reminder to residents to keep their car doors locked, according to members of the 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee.
A committee member said that most of the recent car burglaries in Forest Glen have involved unlocked vehicles.
It was reported at the committee’s Jan. 21 meeting that two men were arrested last month in connection with a series of can break-ins after they were seen trying the door handles of parked cars. The incident occurred at about 2:20 a.m. Friday, Dec. 4, near Moody and Argyle avenues, according to police.
Officers reported that the men dropped several items as they approached and that one of the men was apprehended a short time later while the other was arrested two days later, according to police.
Numerous items reported stolen from the vehicles were recovered, police said. The suspects were identified by police as Peter Junkovic, age 20, of the 6800 block of West Montrose Avenue, and Ashraf Sanduka, age 18 of the 4700 block of North New England Avenue, both of Harwood Heights.
In addition, a 22-year-old man was arrested at about 3:10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22, it was reported that someone with a flashlight was breaking into vehicles in the 4800 block of North Lavergne Avenue, according to police. Officers saw the suspect between two trucks which had broken passenger-side windows and found construction tools on the ground, police said.
The suspect had a key to a vehicle which had been reported stolen a week earlier, according to police. The suspect, who was identified by police as Jose Chavez, of the 5000 block of North Harding Avenue, was charged with burglary and criminal damage to property, police said.
Also at the meeting, new 16th District commander William Looney said that the biggest problems in the district continue to be property-related crimes, including burglaries, thefts from vehicles and robberies. Looney said that at the community meetings which he has attended, residents "seem very supportive of the police."
Committee chairman Thomas Bucaro said that there has been a recent increase in the number of community alerts on burglaries being issued in the district.
Looney said that alerts often are issued when there is a crime pattern in an area but that the number of burglaries reported in recent weeks is down from last year. There were 39 burglaries reported in the district through Jan. 17, compared to 52 for the same period in 2015.
Safety concerns were expressed at the meeting about homeless individuals who seek food and shelter at area churches. Looney said that the police can conduct a check to see if the person poses a problem and that the police work with a variety of agencies to help the homeless.
The committee also gave its Officer of the Month Award to Patrick Doyle and Jamie Anselmo for their Nov. 26 arrest of a suspected gang member who reportedly drove a vehicle through Dunham Park, 4628 N. Melvina Ave.