16th District officers recognized for arrest of burglary suspects caught inside victim’s home
by BRIAN NADIG
The 16th (Jefferson Park) Police District Advisory Committee is honoring the police officers who on Jan. 4 apprehended two teenage burglary suspects while they were inside the victim’s home in the 5800 block of North Ottawa Avenue.
District commander Maureen Biggane said at the committee’s Feb. 18 meeting that an “observant neighbor” felt it was unusual to see visitors outside the house that afternoon and called police after a side door was broken into.
Officers entered the house and caught one of the suspects hiding behind a lounge chair, while the other suspect was ordered to come out from a bedroom with his hands up and was placed in custody, according to police.
It was later learned that the elderly homeowner was in bed at the time of the incident, and the suspects had told her that they were there to check electrical outlets for fire, police said. One of the suspects reportedly was carrying a crowbar, police said.
The homeowner told police that she tried to call 9-1-1 but that one of the teens grabbed the phone away from her and that the teens were rummaging through dresser drawers, according to police. The suspects were identified by police as age 15 and 16.
The committee voted to give the district’s “officer of the month” award to the responding officers, John Ganz and Laurie Bogusewicz.
Biggane also reported that the district is taking “a boots on the ground with high visibility” approach to combat recent crime patterns, including a series of armed robberies targeting doughnut and subway shops and convenience stores, primarily along West Belmont Avenue and West Irving Park Road.
Officers have been visiting businesses, talking to workers and customers and distributing community alert fliers. There have been 30 reported robberies in the district in 2021 through the third week of February compared to 17 during the same period last year, representing a 76-percent increase.
The district also has experienced an 18-percent jump this year in reported thefts, with 73 compared to 62 units 2020. Many of the incidents have involved the the theft of catalytic converters from parked cars and packages from porches, Biggane said.
In recent weeks suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of packages in the 7800 block of Belmont and 5300 block of North Cumberland Avenue, police said.
It also was reported that a man was arrested in connection with a Jan. 24 incident in which 10 gunshots reportedly were fired into the air in the 4900 block of Belmont.
Also at the meeting, committee member discussed the creation of subcommittees on veterans and the homeless, and it was announced that the district’s court advocates may undergo training on how to participate in online court hearings. Prior to the pandemic the advocates attended hearings in support of victims.