Justice Sought for Polar Bear Attack: Weird Crimes

Off-duty cops shopping at a mall break up fight • Woman arrested twice in one day • Metra rider gets spitting mad ... This week's roundup of weird crime news in the Southland.

Unbearable Crime

Dec. 7: A Homewood resident is hoping someone will help bring justice to whoever vandalized his polar bear Christmas decoration.

The man, who lives on Morris Ave. just down the street from Lassen’s Bar & Grill, submitted video surveillance footage of the theft from around 2:08 a.m.

“My Camera did cut off at the end for some reason, but the other videos show it was there before and not there after,” the man said.

A neighbor discovered the polar bear with its head smashed in the next day.

A police report has not yet been filed.

Watch video of the theft on Homewood-Flossmoor Patch

Never Off Duty

Dec. 26: A fight involving eight people was broken up Thursday at Orland Square Mall with the help of off-duty law enforcement officers who were out shopping.

A police officer assigned to patrol at the mall was directed to the first floor about a fight, according the Orland Park Police Department. The officer saw eight people in a verbal and physical altercation. With the help of three off-duty Cook County Sheriff’s deputies and an off-duty Illinois State Police trooper, the fight was broken up, police said.

“It was good to see four fellow officers came to the aid to calm the situation,” said Orland Park Police Commander John Keating. “It was a very heavy foot traffic day, and they were there just as regular shoppers. It’s not surprising they did that, but we’re grateful nonetheless.”

The fight began with two women who knew each other from high school, and who had prior disagreements, Keating said. Ra’Gene Banks, 19, of Country Club Hills and Shakia Means, 22, of Hazel Crest, were shopping when they ran into each other, according to Keating.

During the fight, Means suffered a small cut on her face, but she refused treatment from Orland firefighters who were called to the scene, Keating said.

Banks was charged with battery and disorderly conduct. Means was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer.

Five other people also were charged:

  • Granzlee Banks, 20, of Country Club Hills, was charged with disorderly conduct

  • Shativana Means, 20, of Hazel Crest, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer

  • Kenya Robinson, 19, of Hazel Crest, was charged with disorderly conduct and obstructing a peace officer

  • Dominique McCollum-Smith, 19, of Hazel Crest, was charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing a peace officer and possession of drug paraphernalia

  • A 17-year-old from Richton Park was charged with battery and disorderly conduct

A marijuana pipe was found on McCollum-Smith, Keating said. Those charged with obstructing a peace officer had resisted arrest in some manner, Keating said.

The adults are scheduled to be in court at Bridgeview on Feb. 24.

Read more on Orland Park Patch

Double Trouble

Dec. 29: A Palos Park woman was arrested twice Sunday after she returned to a friend's Joliet home to continue a fight for which she'd been previously charged, Joliet police said.

Capt. Tab Jensen said he did not know why Samantha Romanowicz, 28, of 10536 Fitzsimmons Drive, and the victim were arguing, but in both cases Romanowicz was charged with criminal trespass to property.

Police were initially called to a home at 1319 N. Prairie Ave. at about 4:55 p.m. after Romanowicz reportedly entered her friend's house through a back window, struck her dogs with a broom and then got into a physical altercation with the woman, Jensen said.

The victim was scratched and bitten, but declined medical treatment, he said.

Romanowicz was arrested and charged with criminal trespass, cruelty to animals and two counts of battery and released on a recognizance bond.

A little more than two hours later, Romanowicz returned to the house and attempted to resume the fight with the victim, Jensen said. Police were summoned again, and Romanowicz charged with criminal trespass and resisting a peace officer and again released on a recognizance bond.

Romanowicz is due in court on the first arrest on Jan. 28 and on the second on Jan. 27.

According to published reports, Romanowicz was arrested in Tinley Park in August 2011 on a charge of retail theft, in Evergreen Park in September 2011 for possession of drug paraphernalia/needles and cooking plates, and in Oak Lawn in September 2011 for retail theft for stealing medication from a Jewel-Osco.

Read more on Palos Patch

Spitting Mad

Dec. 4: A New Lenox woman was arrested by the Metra police after allegedly spat on a pair of men.

Nancy Rybka, 57, of 806 Melrose St. faces a pair of battery charges in connection with the incident earlier this month.

Rybka was charged with spitting on Hector Mariscal and Alan Melzer. A Will County judge ordered her to have no contact with the two men.

Read more on New Lenox Patch

Police report information is provided by local police departments. Charges are not evidence of guilt. They are a record of police actions on a given day, and persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you or a family member are charged or cited and the case is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor. We will verify and report the outcome.

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