Burbank Police believe a robbery which occurred at the Speedway, 7859 S. Harlem Ave., Saturday afternoon is linked to a suspect wanted in a string of carjackings and a collision that killed an 11 year-old Chicago boy.
Division Chief Mike Dudlo of the Burbank Police Department said the offender, driving a stolen car, pulled alongside another vehicle at the Speedway. While the driver was pumping gas, the offender opened the passenger door and tried to snatch her purse which was sitting on the front seat. A confrontation ensued in which the victim resisted but the offender was able to make off with the victim’s purse and fled the scene in the stolen car.
Burbank Police believe the offender to be the suspect that led authorities on a chase which started in Chicago Saturday afternoon. Chicago Police have identified the suspect as Rockie Douglas, 34, last known to live in Beach Park, Ill.
Around noon Saturday, Chicago police officers tried to pull over the van Douglas was driving. Police say Douglas sped off and ultimately crashed into another vehicle near the intersection of 55th and Halsted killing 11 year-old Donvan Turnage who was riding in the backseat of his father's car.
Douglas exited his wrecked van and carjacked another vehicle at gunpoint. He continued to elude police and although his exact route is not known, witnesses say Douglas led police on a chase through Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, and Burbank before getting onto Interstate 294.
The vehicle Douglas was driving broke down near the ramp connecting I-294 and I-88 where Douglas carjacked a third vehicle. He was last seen fleeing westbound on Interstate 88 in the hijacked vehicle.
Burbank Police are assisting the Chicago Police Department in this on-going investigation and trying to locate the offender.
A Burbank man was robbed at gunpoint in the 8000 block of S. Rutherford Ave. Wednesday night about 6:30 p.m.
The victim had just returned home from his place of business and was retrieving his mail when he was approached by three men wearing ski masks. One of the offenders covered the man’s mouth while his accomplices rifled through the victim’s pockets removing money and his cell phone.
One of the offenders pointed a handgun at the victim during the robbery to get him to comply with their demands but the resident was not physically injured.
The offenders fled on foot westbound running through yards. Burbank police and K9 units searched the area but were unable to locate any suspects. Police say they have few leads and no further description of the offenders.
Burbank Police Division Chief Mike Dudlo confirmed that Burbank has been experiencing these types of thefts for approximately 1 year. Dudlo said most of the catalytic converter thefts in Burbank have occurred in the parking lots of the shopping centers along Cicero Ave.
Catalytic converters are part of modern vehicles (manufactured after 1974) exhaust systems that aid in reducing pollution. Many contain precious metals such as platinum which make them valuable to thieves. As the Patch article states, the parts have a street value of $100 to $200 but repairs can cost between $300 to $2,000.
Dudlo explained the way these crimes typically happen, “The offender exits a vehicle (usually driven by another), crawls under the vehicle with a cordless Sawzall and cuts the exhaust pipe in the front and to the rear of the converter. Within minutes, the offenders re-enter their vehicle with the catalytic converter, drive away and go to a metal scrap yard for a payment.”
Many catalytic converter thieves prefer to target trucks and SUVs because they are higher off the ground and easier to crawl under but Dudlo said the vehicles targeted in Burbank seem to be Chevy Cavaliers and Pontiac Grand Ams.
Dudlo said the Burbank Police have been in contact with many neighboring suburban police departments and the Chicago Police. “These types of thefts seem to have occurred in most jurisdictions. We have made several arrests over the year, as have other departments, but as the (Patch) article points out, the incident is over in about 3 minutes and usually less.”
Division Chief Mike Dudlo of the Burbank Police Department issued the following statement regarding a garage fire in the 7700 block of S. Lotus Ave. earlier today:
The Burbank Fire Department and Police Department were called to a residence for a garage fire. The unattached garage is a total loss as well as the vehicles parked inside. While the fire was still under investigation by the Fire Department, it appears there was no foul play and may be accidental in nature.
The homeowner went out to the garage and started the vehicle to warm it up shortly before 3:00 pm. After going back inside the residence for approximately 10 minutes, he returned to the vehicle and garage engulfed in flames.
There were no injuries as a result of the fire. Several other garages / residences in the area sustained damage. Commonwealth Edison was summoned to the scene due to several power lines being damaged by the fire. Com Ed had no estimated time available when power would be restored to several area residences affected by the power-outage.
At least two people were arrested in an early morning raid of a Burbank home.
The Burbank Police were assisted by the South Suburban Emergency Response Team (SSERT) in executing a search warrant at the residence of 8450 S. Oak Park Ave. as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation, Division Chief Mike Dudlo of the Burbank Police said.
Residents of the area reported seeing police officers with their guns drawn and hearing what sounded like gunshots. Dudlo said “No shots were fired but officers utilized a ‘flashbang’ prior to making entry into the residence. That was the sound residents in the area heard.”
A flashbang or stun grenade is a non-lethal explosive device used to temporarily disorient a person’s senses.
Police arrested resident Przemyslaw Lelewer who was charged with Unlawful Possession of Ammunition and James Chiuso who was charged with Possession of Cannabis, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Unlawful Possession of Hypodermic Syringes according to Dudlo.
“No further information is being released at this time due to this being an ongoing investigation,” Dudlo said.