The horrific sexual assault and killing of Tiffany Thrasher by an intruder over the weekend got us thinking about the similarities between the crime and a pair of home invasions a few months ago in Rolling Meadows.
In those cases, a man broke into apartments just a few miles down Algonquin Road from the 33-year-old Thrasher's Schaumburg apartment. In one case, the intruder sexually assaulted a female resident. In the other, he approached a sleeping resident, but was scared off when another resident confronted him.
We weren't alone in making the possible connection.
Schaumburg police Sgt. Christy Lindhurst told us Thursday that investigators consulted with detectives in Rolling Meadows and the Major Case Assistance Team to see if there is a link.
"At this time, we have not found any evidence to link the cases," she said. "We don't believe they're connected."
Rolling Meadows police Cmdr. Tom Gadomski said his department continues to conduct a "very active" investigation into the home invasions.
"Detectives are still working leads on the case," he said.
Anyone with information can call Rolling Meadows police at (847) 255-2416. There's a $1,000 reward.
Waubonsee Community College officials are still piecing together the events of April 4, when about 70 police officers and first responders rushed to a report of an active shooter in the Sugar Grove campus library.
Gun-toting officers searched several buildings for the shooter, before finding out the call was a mistake made by two instructors during a training workshop.
"It was a traumatic event without a tragedy," is the way Amanda Geist, spokeswoman for the college, put it.
The training session was part of a three-day workshop on college-campus security arranged by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Training Program. Instructors texted a fake message about a shooter in the Todd Library to what they thought was a prearranged number. But they misdialed, and the text went to a person in Rolling Meadows.
That set in motion the chain of events leading to the massive police response.
"We are regretful that the incident occurred. It is clear there are opportunities for improvement," said program manager Eric Arnold.
For now, Waubonsee is trying to make lemonade from the lemon. College officials met Wednesday with 25 first responders to discuss what happened.
"We will strengthen college systems as a result of this event so it doesn't go as a total waste," said David Quillen, Waubonsee's executive vice president of finance and operations.
Building a Dream Team
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran continues to assemble a veritable all-star team of North suburban law enforcement leaders to serve among his top brass.
His latest addition is Jonathan Petrillo, hired this week as Curran's chief of administration just days after ending his 24-year tenure with the Vernon Hills Police Department. Petrillo, who had served as Vernon Hills' deputy chief since 2008, will oversee all the sheriff's administrative divisions, including court security, warrants, community services, records and training.
He joins a growing list of leaders who held high-ranking posts elsewhere before joining Curran's staff. Among them: former Round Lake Beach Chief David Hare, who is chief of operations; and James Elliot, Evanston's former deputy chief, who heads Curran's Office of Professional Standards.
Perhaps the most notable example is Undersheriff Ray Rose, who'll be retiring at the end of the month after a five-decade law enforcement career that included a 20-year run as Mundelein's chief.
Curran said the hires reflect a new mindset of finding the best leadership candidates available, not just promoting from within.
"We want to be the best sheriff's department in the nation," he said. "We're not there yet, but that's the goal."
Clean dishes a civil right?
Back in November, we wrote about the Kane County sheriff asking county board officials for permission to buy a new dishwasher, an emergency expense of more than $75,000. The county board OK'd the purchase in December.
Apparently that wasn't fast enough for everyone's liking.
Former inmate Elton James Jones filed a federal lawsuit March 29, saying his civil rights were violated because of the jail's dirty meal trays. With the dishwasher broken, his suit alleges, trays were washed by hand in garbage cans and often left with dried-up food and soap residue still on them.
"It's dirty, nasty, unsanitary and every detainee in the Kane County jail has complained and put in grievances," he wrote in the lawsuit. Jones, now incarcerated at the East Moline Correctional Center on drug and resisting arrest convictions, said he and others suffered diarrhea and vomiting as a result. He's seeking unspecified damages ... and clean trays for the jail.
The jail's new dishwasher in now up and running, department spokesman Lt. Patrick Gengler said Wednesday.
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