Westmont man charged with hate crime at Lombard synagogue
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin announced Oct. 24 that charges have been filed against John White, 40, of 13 Tartan Lakes Drive, Westmont, for smashing windows and vandalizing the Etz Chaim Synagogue, located at 1710 S. Highland Ave. in Lombard. White appeared in bond court on Friday afternoon, where Judge Michael Wolfe ordered he be held on $5 million full cash bond. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 21, Lombard Police Department received a 9-1-1 phone call regarding a disturbance at the synagogue. Upon their arrival, officers encountered White in his vehicle reportedly driving recklessly all over the property, both on and off the pavement. While at the scene, police discovered graffiti of an anti-Semitic nature on the synagogue. Police also discovered that seven of the synagogue’s windows had been broken. White was promptly removed from his vehicle and taken into custody. Following the incident, police obtained a search warrant for White’s house where they discovered, among other things, thousands of rounds of ammunition, a shotgun, a rifle and four handguns. In all he faces one count of hate crime, a Class 3 felony; one count of criminal damage to property, a Class 3 felony; one count of possession of a firearm without a FOID card, a Class 3 felony; and one count of institutional vandalism, a Class 2 felony. “The charges against Mr. White are extremely serious,” Berlin said. “Hate crimes have a devastating effect not only on the victims themselves, but on the entire community. DuPage County is built on the strengths of our communities and an attack on a religious institution is considered an attack against the entire community. Any such attack based on hatred and prejudice will not be tolerated in DuPage County and will be met with the full force of the law. I would like to thank the Lombard Police Department for their quick response and apprehension of Mr. White, as well as assistant state’s attorney Enza LaMonica for her efforts on this case.” White’s next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 17 in front of Judge Bakalis.
Car in lagoon leads to reckless conduct charges for Bellwood man
by Bonnie MacKay A 1994 maroon Ford Mustang’s appearance in Lombard Park District’s Lombard Lagoon Saturday night resulted in charges against a Bellwood man. According to Lombard Police Sgt. Joe Grage, an event was going on at the Lombard Lagoon building when someone apparently noticed lights from a vehicle in the pond and called 9-1-1. It was just after 10:30 p.m. when both Lombard police and fire personnel responded to the south side of the lagoon. Although Grage said the depth of the lagoon is about 10 feet in the middle, the Ford Mustang was only submerged up to the driver’s door. He related that a Lombard police officer, who was on the scene prior to the fire department’s arrival, waded into the water to begin a search. Firefighters arriving on the scene did a search of the vehicle, as well as a perimeter search around the car, Grage said. They did not find anyone. Once the search had been completed, the vehicle was towed from the lagoon and officers were able to find the owner through the VIN (vehicle identification number), according to the sergeant. Syed Hassan, 22, who allegedly pushed the vehicle into the lagoon, was called about the vehicle and responded to the police station. He was charged with reckless conduct and was cited for polluting a Lombard Park District waterway and was released. The sergeant related that Lombard police officers have the authority to enforce Lombard Park District ordinances.
Lombard college student wins Heartland Blood Center Scholarship
by Bonnie MacKay For one Lombard college student, giving blood is just another way to give back to her community. However, when she recently donated blood at a Village of Lombard Blood Drive, she received something in return. Megan Cotterill, a 2013 Lombard Lilac princess, said she donated blood with her mom and entered to win one of Heartland Blood Center’s five $1,000 scholarships. She said she had learned of the scholarship opportunity from a friend and brought the form to the blood drive. “If I can give back, I do my best to do it,” she said, adding that she knows that one pint of blood can save at least three lives. Cotterill learned that she would be receiving one of Heartland’s scholarship while she was “home in Lombard” from college. She will be officially presented the $1,000 check when she returns home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Cotterill said she has donated blood “pretty often” and became a blood donor in her sophomore year at Glenbard East High School. However, her mother Margaret had not donated for a long time before her recent donation with her daughter. Now a sophomore at Illinois State University, the 20-year-old is studying human resource management. According to Carol Bauer, blood drive coordinator for the Village of Lombard, because the Heartland Blood Centers Students Saving Lives Scholarships has gone so well, she recently learned that Heartland Blood Centers will be offering five more $1,000 scholarships through the end of the year. To be eligible for a scholarship, a student must make a minimum on one successful blood donation at any Heartland mobile blood drive or center location between now and Dec. 31. Additionally, family and friends may also donate on behalf of a student. To qualify, all blood donors must download an entry form at www.heartlandbc.org. Completed forms must be submitted at the time of the blood donation. “The scholarship opportunity not only helps to further the education of students, but more importantly, it helps to save the lives of patients of all ages who require blood transfusions,” Dennis Mestrich, CEO and president of Heartland Blood Centers said when announcing the scholarships. “It’s a win-win for the students who donate blood and those patients who receive the blood products.” The Village of Lombard will hold its third annual Bill Mueller Memorial Blood Drive on Monday, Nov. 10, at both the Lombard Village Hall, 255 E. Wilson, and Yorktown Center. Bauer said each blood donor will receive a gift certificate for a free beef sandwich from Buona Beef and will be entered into a drawing for a Yorktown gift certificate. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Bauer at 630-620-5712 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Police offer tips for Halloween safety
The Lombard Police Department would like to remind residents that Halloween and the associated excitement of costumes, parties and fun has a very serious side to it—child safety. The Lombard Police want to help make Halloween a fun and safe experience for parents and children together. Some Halloween safety tips for parents and children are as follows: •Plan ahead for a safe Halloween. •Costumes should be fireproof. •If facemasks are used, make sure your children can see well enough through them. Consider using makeup instead. •Costumes should be made of white or very light colored materials. You can decorate your child's costume and trick or treat bags with reflective tape or patches to make them highly visible to motorists. •Toy weapons and other props, i.e., swords, broomsticks, hatchets, wands, etc. should be made of cardboard or Styrofoam. Sharp instruments are dangerous. •Children should wear their regular shoes instead of fancy costume shoes for safety reasons. •Trick or treating should be done during daylight hours. If out after dark, provide each of your children with a flashlight to prevent falls on porch steps and on sidewalks. Do not use jack-o’-lanterns or candles. •A responsible adult or teenager should accompany each group of children. Never let your children travel down a street by themselves. Walk with them to each house and wait in the driveway and/or by the door until the children return. •Instruct your children that they should never enter the home of a stranger or accept rides. •Watch for traffic. •Always walk while trick or treating. Never run. •Try, if possible, to limit the size of each group of children to four or five. •Adults can help by keeping their front yards well lighted. •Parents should check all “treats” before allowing children to eat them. Only give or accept wrapped or packaged candy. •Stay in your own neighborhood, and only go to houses that have porch lights turned on. •Parents should know exactly the route their children are taking and should set a time limit for trick or treating. •To help trick or treaters who come to your house, remove all obstacles from the steps, porch, sidewalk and lawns. •Trick or treating should be for young children only. Parties are a good alternative for older children. Lombard Police Chief Raymond Byrne requests that parents limit their children to trick or treating from 3 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31. The chief also encourages parents to sponsor and supervise Halloween parties in place of trick or treating. “If anything unusual occurs or you suspect candy tampering, 9-1-1 should be called immediately,” Byrne said. The police department has access to a national hotline for information on candy tampering. Further questions can be directed to the Lombard Police Department at 630-873-4400.