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Elgin man arrested after Kane forest preserve burglaries

Updated: December 3, 2011 8:18AM



SOUTH ELGIN — Police from the Forest Preserve District of Kane County and South Elgin have made an arrest in a vehicle burglary at Jon J. Duerr Forest Preserve here.

The arrest follows more than 20 “smash and grab” car burglaries in the county forest preserves over the past few months, authorities said.

Forest district spokeswoman Laurie Metanchuk said Miguel A. Gonzalez, 28, of the 400 block of Franklin Boulevard in Elgin, was arrested at about 5 p.m. Monday at the Duerr preserve.

She said a police officer stopped Gonzalez for a traffic violation, then noticed several purses in the red Ford Expedition he was driving.

Gonzalez was charged with burglary to a motor vehicle and taken to the Kane County jail.

In addition to the Duerr preserve, several other preserves have seen an increase in vehicle burglaries over the past few months, including Fitchie Creek near Elgin, Fox River Bluff West near St. Charles, Raceway Woods near Carpentersville and Big Rock near Big Rock. Vehicle burglaries also have taken place in parking lots at parks owned by local park districts. Preserves and parks in Kane, DuPage, Lake, McHenry and Cook counties all have been hit.

Metanchuk said district police have increased surveillance and been on high alert for suspicious activity in and around the preserves. New safety advisory signage has been added to all preserve kiosks, and additional signage also has been posted at the aforementioned preserves.

The Forest Preserve District of Kane County strongly advises preserve users to follow these safety tips when visiting forest preserves, parks and other large public areas:

Don’t leave wallets, purses, cash or other valuables in plain sight.

Avoid bringing valuables to a preserve, or lock them securely in your trunk before arriving.

Lock your vehicle.

Be alert to your surroundings — don’t wear earbuds or headphones.

Remain on designated trails and paths.

Walk or run with a companion.

Carry a cellphone to report problems or request assistance.

In an emergency, call 911 immediately.

More information on public safety is available on the district website at www.kaneforest.com/publications/brochures/publicSafety.pdf.



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