Metal thieves target vacant Berwyn homes

Home broken into located on 1422 Gunderson

By: Lavell Garner

Stealing copper and other metals, but as of late it has become more of a problem in the city of Berwyn with increased home foreclosures. And Berwyn authorities are taking measures to control it.

On Oct. 11, three suspects were detained for breaking and entering into a vacant home located on 1422 Gunderson Avenue.

The suspects were Diego Melero, 19, from Cicero, Juan Ramirez, 18, from Berwyn, and Pedro Ramirez, 21, from Berwyn.

Officer Chase McGrath, of the Berwyn Police Department was one of the officers who had to deal with the copper burglars.

“When you stepped into the house you can tell it was pretty damaged, walls torn, ceiling, basement, and kitchen were all wrecked. This was not an organized burglary”, said Officer Chase McGrath.

The three were charged with burglary, a class 2 felony, and possession of burglary tools, a class 4 felony.

As of late, many foreclosed and vacant homes have been the targets for burglars to make their hit.

“Due to the economy being in the shape it’s in now, many individuals break in vacant and foreclosed homes, and steal copper piping, gutters, and other metals to scalp and make some money from it” said McGrath. 

Mayor Robert Lovero said that Berwyn has been hit hard with a lot of foreclosed homes in recent years. People who had immediate income lost their homes.

“The state legislature passed a law that says the banks have to notify the city with respect to when a house is in any type of foreclosure such as lis pendens, which means filing with intent to go forth a foreclose or actually in the foreclosure process, and loan medication process,” said Lovero.

Due to more break-ins happening in the city of Berwyn, many procedures are being done to try and keep the vacant homes safe, including receiving notices from banks and placing the notices into a data system, where the homes can be monitored.

“We get those notices, and place them in a data bank. The data bank is integrated with our building department that is shared with our police and fire department so we can monitor these homes,” said Lovero.

Berwyn also has a Neighborhood Watch program, through which people are encouraged to take note on suspicious activity they may see in their neighborhood. Police Chief  Jim Ritz, provided some insight about the program.

“We encourage all our neighborhood watch members if they see anything suspicious, to call us or fill out a crime report at our website at berwynpolicedepartment.com. We have great neighborhood watch members that help us out,” said Ritz.

If there is certain area that the police know has had trouble on numerous occasions, extra procedures are used to make sure that area is secured and safe.

“We do extra drive-bys to make sure there are no break-ins; we also have data tracking where we can pinpoint where the crimes are and find out what groups are doing this. Eventually they are caught,” said Ritz.

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