By Tim Hadac
Southwest Chicago Post
An alert 53-year-old Garfield Ridge man’s actions are being credited with helping Orland Park Police nab a man who allegedly stole a $7,500 engagement ring from a jeweler in Orland Square Mall.
The good Samaritan said that as he and his girlfriend drove to the Michaels crafts store at 151st and LaGrange Road at about noon Friday, Sept. 14, he was using his handheld scanner to monitor suburban police and fire calls.
“Fortunately, Orland Park's Police channels are non-secure, analog conventional and made available to the general public—for the good guys and gals to listen to,” he said.
As he heard the call about the theft (which included a
description of the suspect and which noted that he ran west across LaGrange Road), he jokingly asked his girlfriend, "Wouldn't it be just my luck if we ran into him at Michaels?”
“As I was walking into the store, I couldn't believe it,” the Garfield Ridge man continued. “Standing in front of me was a ‘possible’ offender--same race, physical description…he was acting very suspicious in the store and frequently staring out the front of the store as if he was waiting for a ride. He was pacing the aisles of the store, and just acting suspiciously.”
The good Samaritan stepped outside the store and called 911 to alert Orland Park Police.
They responded and apprehended 24-year-old Terrence T.
An OPPD commander said that Sanders posed as a customer at the Jared jewelry store in the mall but then snatched the 2.5 karat, white gold engagement ring from a clerk and then fled on foot.
The commander added that Sanders was positively identified by a Jared employee, and that the ring was recovered from Sanders.
Sanders was charged with one count of felony retail theft and held in lockup pending a bond hearing the next day.
The good Samaritan said that among other things, the incident showed the value of police departments having non-encrypted communications systems accessible to the public.
This is a perfect example of a law-abiding citizen who is alert, aware and willing to get involved. Could have looked the other way, but didn't. An example for all of us to emulate. A tip of our cap to this good Samaritan!