Paintballers charged in Park Forest
May 5, 2009
By Becky Schlikerman, staff writer
Five pranksters have been charged with criminal damage to property for shooting at 10 cars with paintballs and BB guns in Park Forest, authorities said.
Their arrest came days after the SouthtownStar reported at least eight Chicago Heights residents had reported they, or their property, had been shot at with paintballs.
The five teens from Chicago Heights and South Chicago Heights were arrested just after midnight April 26 by Park Forest police at Brookwood Drive and Lincoln Highway. A witness saw a black Dodge Dakota driving down Elm Street shooting BBs at parked cars, Park Forest Deputy Police Chief Mike McNamara said.
Charged are Anthony Gutierrez, 17, 194 W. 27th Place, South Chicago Heights; Jonathan Hernandez, 18, 212 W. Lincoln Highway, Chicago Heights; Miguel Vasquez, 19, 554 W. 15th Place, Chicago Heights; Alan Letesma, 18, 1330 Vincennes Ave., Chicago Heights; and Cruz Gutierrez, 18, 321 W. 16th St., Chicago Heights.
Park Forest police stopped the car a short time after the witness's report.
"They all admitted driving the car and firing at cars," McNamara said.
McNamara said it's possible these five are responsible for the paintball attacks in Chicago Heights, but neither Park Forest nor Chicago Heights police could say for sure.
He added Park Forest police didn't know there had been any paintball incidents in Chicago Heights.
Since the teens' arrests, there have been no more reports of paintball shootings in Chicago Heights.
Chicago Heights Police Lt. Michael Romano said his department has been in contact with Park Forest police but he hasn't started an investigation yet.
Becky Schlikerman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (708) 802-8813.