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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Police Warn Far Northwest Siders Of Burglaries Targeting Older Residents

One Portage Park resident said he's worried for his safety and is considering moving after someone entered his building and attacked his neighbor.

4815 W. Belle Plaine Ave. in Portage Park pictured April 4, 2022.
Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
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PORTAGE PARK — Older residents have been targeted during recent burglaries on the Far Northwest Side, police said.

During five incidents in April, someone went to the home of an older person and spoke to them in their doorway; while they talked and the older person was distracted, another person got into the home and stole items, police said.

In another incident, a woman asked an older person if she could use their home’s bathroom, and she took money from their home, police said.

The incidents:

  • 7 a.m. April 26 in the 6900 block of North Ionia Avenue.
  • 2:53 p.m. April 26 in the 5100 block of North Elston Avenue.
  • 2:45 p.m. April 22 in the 4400 block of North Major Avenue.
  • 12:49 p.m. April 21 in the 6500 block of West Belmont Avenue.
  • 10 a.m. April 1 in the 4800 block of West Belle Plaine Avenue.

The thieves from the first four incidents were described as a white man who was 25-40 years old with a black ponytail and dark clothing and a white woman 30-40 years old with long, black hair, police said. They drove a white, four-door Chevrolet pickup or black Mustang with a convertible top.

In another incident, an 86-year-old man was robbed April 1 in the 4800 block of West Belle Plaine Avenue in Portage Park. The man was inside a building when a man came up behind him and began choking him while taking money out of his pockets, police said. The attacker then left.

Christopher Steidinger, 74, has lived in the building where that robbery occurred for about three years and said he now doesn’t feel safe doing laundry or walking around the halls. He always keeps his door locked and won’t answer if anyone knocks, he said.

Steidinger said neighbors told him the attacker was able to get in even though a special key is needed to unlock the main door. The attacker knocked on doors and forced his way into people’s homes, the resident said.

“This is bad,” Steidinger said a few days after the incident.

No one is in custody and detectives are investigating, police said.

Despite the recent incidents, police data shows burglaries in the area were down last month compared to the same time last year. But there’s been a 20 percent increase in burglaries overall in the 16th District, with 85 reported this year compared to 71 in 2021.

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