By Kevin M. Coyne
The Chicago Ridge Village Board on Tuesday commended the village’s police chief for taking control of the operation that may have prevented a group of teens from wreaking havoc last weekend at the Chicago Ridge Mall.
Nearly 300 teens comprising the same group of youths that damaged property and looted stores last month at Ford City Mall in Chicago planned to do the same thing last Saturday at the Chicago Ridge Mall, Pyznarski told the board at its weekly meeting. Police officers from several other towns and Cook County guarded the Chicago Ridge mall from 1 to 7 p.m. to protect against what Pyznarski called a “smash mob.”
“Because of our police presence we were told that the kids were posting on various social media that the Chicago Ridge Mall had a heavy police presence and to cancel their plan,” said Chief Pyznarski. “We owe a lot to the other departments that came together to help us out.”
Chicago Ridge police were tipped off to the teens’ plan by the Chicago Police Department’s gang unit. Tips were also flowing in from Chicago public school teachers after the mob’s plans to attack the mall surfaced on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets, Pyznarski said.
“We took action as soon as we were told that there were plans to attack the Chicago Ridge Mall,” the chief added. “We didn’t want to get caught off-guard. We had it to where we got ahold of Pace Bus so that we could know how many kids were on the bus.
Pyznarski stationed roughly 25 officers inside the mall and 25 Chicago Ridge officers outside the building, while Oak Lawn police covered 94th street one block north.
“If a group of four kids were talking around we would break up the group,” said Pyznarski. “I told the kids as they got off the bus, ‘if you guys want to go shopping, you’re more than welcome, but if there are any issues you’re getting arrested.’”
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