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updated: 2/26/2012 4:34 PM

Mom praises Aurora police synthetic pot sting

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Aurora police recently checked businesses to see if they were complying with the city's ban on the sale and possession of synthetic marijuana.

Police did not find any synthetic marijuana at seven businesses Feb. 18, but a clerk at the 7-Eleven/Citgo in the 1600 block of Montgomery Road was issued a notice to appear in court for unlawfully selling tobacco to a person younger than 18.

Aurora mom Karen Dobner, whose son Max died in a car crash in North Aurora last year after using synthetic pot, applauded the efforts by police.

"Aurora has definitely been the leader in the Western suburbs as far as putting an end to selling synthetic marijuana in stores like it's bubble gum. They've done a fabulous job and they've stayed on top of it," Dobner said.

Aurora and numerous other communities have banned synthetic pot since Max's death.

Max Dobner, 19, died June 14, 2011 after crashing his car into a house. His mom said he was not a drug user, but bought the substance legally at a mall with a friend. He tried it, began hallucinating and having a panic attack.

She started the To The Maximus Foundation to educate people about the dangers of synthetic pot.

Besides lobbying for bans, Dobner said she's been speaking at local schools -- she'll visit St. Charles East High School on April 11 -- and working with Lewis University in Romeoville on a public relations kit.

She's also trying to find former users to give testimonials on what the drug did to them and how it affected and nearly ended their lives. Dobner said some people still have anxiety attacks a year after using the drug.

"We realize that young people don't want to hear a mom get up and say, 'Don't do this, it's dangerous.' They hear it all the time," she said. "To see kids get up there and say, 'This is what happened to me, this is how I felt.' That's a different story."

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In deep to help others: Several Aurora Police officers will take a dip in a frigid lake for Illinois Special Olympics during the 9th annual Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Plunge this coming weekend at Silver Springs State Park in Yorkville.

Last year, Aurora officers joined nearly 300 other men and women as they jumped into Lake Loon, raising about $98,000.

Donations for the Aurora police team known as the "Cops and Convicts" are being accepted by Sgt. Doug Podschweit. He can be reached at (630) 256-5772 or emailed at

The plunge will be held 1 p.m. Sunday, March 4. People who want to watch can travel to the Kendall County Fairgrounds on Route 71 and East Highpoint Road, from where they will be bused to Loon Lake beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Last year, Aurora officers raised more than $15,000 for the charity.

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