How a Schaumburg cop helped a teen robbery victim get back on his board

  • Dominic De La Cruz, second from right, was all smiles earlier this month when Schaumburg police teamed up with a Zumiez store to get him a new skateboard after his had been stolen. With him, from left, are Zumiez manager Courtney Basich, Officer Tyler Danielson and Officer Elliott Rose.

    Dominic De La Cruz, second from right, was all smiles earlier this month when Schaumburg police teamed up with a Zumiez store to get him a new skateboard after his had been stolen. With him, from left, are Zumiez manager Courtney Basich, Officer Tyler Danielson and Officer Elliott Rose. Courtesy of the village of Schaumburg

  • Dominic De La Cruz tries out his new skateboard outside the Schaumburg police station. Police helped get Dominic, 15, the board after his was stolen last month.

    Dominic De La Cruz tries out his new skateboard outside the Schaumburg police station. Police helped get Dominic, 15, the board after his was stolen last month. Courtesy of the village of Schaumburg

 
Posted7/20/2018 5:03 AM

Cops and skateboarders might not be mortal enemies, but it's safe to say they don't always see eye-to-eye.

Which makes even better a tale of a Schaumburg officer who went way out his way to help a local teen get back on his board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

It goes back to June 27, when 15-year-old Dominic De La Cruz was skating near Wise and Spring Cove roads. A young man approached Dominic, punched him in the face and took off with the board. Dominic was left bloodied and without his favorite mode of transportation.

Officer Elliott Rose responded to the scene and learned the board had been given to Dominic as a Christmas gift by his mother, Sabrina.

"It wasn't something that she was going to be able to replace for him anytime soon," Lt. Shawn Green told us. "So (Elliott) took it upon himself to see if there was anything that could be done."

It started with a collection around the police department and then a visit to the Zumiez store in Woodfield Mall to learn how much replacement would cost. When a Zumiez manager learned of the situation, she persuaded the company's corporate officers to sign off on giving Dominic a new board, valued at about $200.

"Right off the bat I knew I wasn't going to let this situation go, and I was going to do everything I could do to help because I'm so against bullying," store manager Courtney Basich told us.

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One with the board

Dominic De La Cruz, right, got a big surprise July 6 when Schaumburg police and the Zumiez store in Woodfield Mall teamed up to get him a new skateboard after his was stolen last month. At left is Zumiez manager Courtney Basich.
Dominic De La Cruz, right, got a big surprise July 6 when Schaumburg police and the Zumiez store in Woodfield Mall teamed up to get him a new skateboard after his was stolen last month. At left is Zumiez manager Courtney Basich. - Courtesy of the village of Schaumburg

And so on July 6, Dominic's mom brought him to the police department under the guise of providing more information about his attacker and perhaps working with a sketch artist. But instead of an artist, Dominic was greeted by Rose, Basich and his new skateboard.

"He was shocked. And when he realized what was happening, he was so excited," Sabrina De La Cruz said. "I haven't seen him smile like that in a very, very long time."

It wasn't long before Dominic was trying out the new board in the police department's parking lot. He's been virtually inseparable from it ever since, his mom says.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He is one with the board," she said. "The Schaumburg Police Department really went above and beyond. From the start (with the attack) to presenting the board, they were awesome from the word go."

Elk Grove goes national

Just weeks after its official launch, Elk Grove Village's innovative new program to take on the opioid crisis -- Elk Grove Village Cares -- has caught the attention of national law enforcement leaders.

In fact, Deputy Police Chief Ed Gaspari is traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, next week at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice to speak at the National Forum on Criminal Justice.

Elk Grove Village Cares, considered the broadest initiative against opioid abuse by a single community in the region, attacks the crisis on several fronts -- from making treatment more accessible to public education efforts to the placement of overdose-reversing naloxone kits in public places.

The program already is having success, officials say. A woman who learned about it through social media contacted police on July 2 asking for help getting into recovery. An officer met with her and arranged for her admission to SHARE-Leyden Family Services.

"I am very encouraged by the progress we've made in the early stages of Elk Grove Village Cares," Mayor Craig Johnson said. "We're honored to be asked by the Department of Justice to share our ideas with the criminal justice community later this month in Texas. But, perhaps more importantly, we've helped one individual get into a treatment program."

Don't feel the need

It's never a good idea to speed, but you might want to pay extra attention to your speedometer on Wednesday. That's when police departments across the suburbs will be on the lookout for leadfoots as part of 2018 Illinois Speed Awareness Day.

And not for nothing. According to state stats, excessive speed was to blame for 34 percent of fatal crashes in 2016, claiming 369 lives.

No pump you up

A Bloomingdale man was sentenced Tuesday to four months in federal prison for selling a supplement and prescription drugs to bodybuilders without FDA approval or a license.

According to the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Paul Leix, 36, of Bloomingdale, and Dominic Pileggi, 50, of Schaumburg, marketed peptides (a type of amino acid) online to the bodybuilding community. They included a disclaimer stating the supplements were not for human consumption, and customers would falsely attest they were buying them only for research, authorities said.

The prescription drugs they sold included Clenbuteral, which bodybuilders use to burn fat; drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction; the fertility drug Clomid; the anti-obesity drug rimonabant; and four breast-cancer drugs, including tamoxifen.

Why would a bodybuilder want fertility and breast-cancer drugs? They're used to counter the breast enlargement brought on by steroid abuse, according to Pileggi's 2016 indictment.

Pileggi was convicted June 7 of conspiracy to commit money laundering and introduction of misbranded drugs in to interstate commerce. The former firefighter, who is on disability due to a work-related injury, is awaiting sentencing.

Leix pleaded guilty in August 2017 and testified at Pileggi's trial. He's due to report to prison Aug. 10.

Veteran additions

Inverness Police Chief Bob Haas, left, welcomed new Det. Ed Valente, second from left, and Officer Scott May, far right, to the department this month. With them is Village President Jack Tatooles, second from right.
Inverness Police Chief Bob Haas, left, welcomed new Det. Ed Valente, second from left, and Officer Scott May, far right, to the department this month. With them is Village President Jack Tatooles, second from right. - Courtesy of the village of Inverness

Officer Scott May and Det. Ed Valente might be the "new guys" on Inverness' small police force, but the pair are longtime veterans of suburban law enforcement. May and Valente, both sworn in last week by Village President Jack Tatooles, bring a combined 55 years of experience to the department.

Valente just stepped down last month after a 28-year tenure in Streamwood, the last two as the department's chief. He also was a school resource officer, juvenile officer and member of the Major Case Assistance Team Major Traffic Crash Reconstruction Team.

May spent 27 years with the Arlington Heights Police Department, serving in the patrol division and the investigations and gang unit. He earned the department's L.W. Calderwood Officer of the Year award in 2000.

Meet the new boss

In the meantime, congrats to new Streamwood Chief Daryl Syre. He takes over the department's top job after spending the past two years as Valente's deputy chief.

• Got a tip or thoughts on a cops and crime-related issue to share? Send an email to copsandcrime@dailyherald.com.

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