Decrease in break-ins reported at 16th District DAC meeting


Burglars might head directly to the master bedroom looking for jewelry in the past, but these days their top target appears to be prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet, according to 16th (Jefferson Park) District police.

That was the message from a group of convicted burglars who spoke at a recent crime prevention workshop in the district. The workshop was one of several issues discussed at the April 20 meeting of the 16th District Advisory Committee.

In some instances burglars may be looking for drugs for themselves but they also are seeking painkillers which have a high resale value on the black market, according to police officials.

It was reported that through mid-April in 2017 the district has experienced a drop in the number of reported break-ins with 180 compared to 199 during the same period last year. "We’re No. 9 in terms of burglaries out of 22 districts, but we’re No. 2 in terms of burglary arrests," district commander William Looney said. "We had 10 last year and 21 arrests this year."

Looney said that the district has relied on reports of suspicious persons for many of the arrests.

In a March 26 incident, a suspect was arrested after police received a report of a vehicle leaving a business which reportedly had been burglarized in the 5900 block of North Northwest Highway. Entry was gained by removing a window on an overhead garage door, police said.

The man was later found inside his car while it was parked in the 3300 block of West Cullom Avenue, police said. Several hand tools reportedly belonging to the business were found inside the car, police said.

It also was reported that the district participated in several graduation ceremonies for grade school students in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program.

District captain Hootan Bahmandeji said that recent efforts to legalize marijuana in several states sends a mixed message to teenagers who can find themselves in a situation where they are being offered marijuana for the first time. Marijuana is illegal on the federal level.

When someone dies of an overdose of heroin, an investigation into the person’s history too often reveals that his or her use of drugs began with marijuana and then escalated with other substances. "It’s a gateway drug," Bahmandeji said of marijuana.

Also at the meeting, it was announced that Nicholas Redelsperger and Eric Bellomy received the district’s "Officer of the Month" Award for their Feb. 3 arrest of a suspect in a stabbing incident.