Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion with some examples of the items stolen in the $5 million heist. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion with some examples of the items stolen in the $5 million heist. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Lyons police break open a huge crime organization

Spread the love
dvn 10 12 lyons bust warehouse truck

Police video of men unloading stolen merchandise at a warehouse in Chicago. (Supplied photo)

By Steve Metsch

It would have been easy for Lyons Police Officer Dever Kelly to simply report a truck had been broken into and nothing was stolen.

But Kelly, in his second year with the department, went the extra mile. He took photos of what he saw inside the truck, of boxes that were broken into.

And because of that, the Lyons Police Department played a key role in busting open a national crime organization that has stolen at least $5 million in goods.

dvn 10 12 lyons bust edwin aguirre ramirez

Edwin Aguirre-Ramirez

The thieves brazenly stole trucks filled with goods that were often carried by rail and – so far – swiped about $5 millions in goods in five states.

That number may grow larger as the investigation continues, Lyons Police Chief Thomas Herion said at a news conference  Thursday morning at the Lyons Village Hall.

“(Kelly) took some very in-depth photos that led us to our probable cause to get into that building. He did a great job,” Herion said of an investigation that led to Chicago’s West Side.

Kelly attended the news conference but declined to comment.

Kelly was called to the truck, parked at a storage site where the old quarry was at First Avenue and Ogden Avenue, a short distance from the police department, on Sept. 19.

Detective work afterwards led to a warehouse and showroom in Chicago, 5420 W. Roosevelt Road, where many more stolen items were found.

Some were even being sold in a showroom dubbed Ozzie’s Shoes, Herion said.

dvn 10 12 lyons bust erik lujano bautista

Erik Lujano-Bautista

“They went in and opened boxes (in the truck). We got photos of the boxes ripped open and they matched what was in that store,” Herion said.

Two Cicero men have been arrested and charged in the investigation that has spread to Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas and California, Herion said.

Lyons Mayor Christopher Getty was proud of the police and their hard work, noting that “what began as a routine investigation of a reported break-in of a semitrailer” led to much more.

“Although nothing was taken, police remained vigilant and suspicious. The suspects returned within 24 hours, and made off with the semitrailer and its cargo, which consisted of 809 cartons valued at $42,000 and consisted mostly of toys,” Getty said.

The trailer was taken to the warehouse on Roosevelt Road and abandoned nearby.

“This is an example of effective, profession and diligent investigative police work by the Lyons Police. This incident led to a national criminal enterprise where millions of dollars of stolen goods were recovered,” Getty said.

Merchandise from Adidas, Apple, Nike, Supreme, Ugg and Yeezy was recovered.

Two 24-year-old Cicero men were arrested when Lyons and Chicago police, bearing a search warrant, visited the site on Roosevelt Road on Oct. 6, Herion said.

Erik Lujano-Bautista was charged with burglary and possession of stolen property. Edwin Aguirre-Ramirez was charged with burglary. Each charge is a Class 2 felony.

Chicago police from the tactical unit in the 15th District were on the scene when Lyons police visited the warehouse, Herion said.

While Herion declined to say exactly how Lyons detectives determined the location was on Roosevelt Road, he did say, “We were able to gain additional information through surveillance and hours of watching activity at that location.”

Several subjects were seen unloading the semitrailer that had been stolen from Lyons, Herion said.

Five men were taken into custody, and, while the other three have not yet been charged, they “are still under investigation,” Herion said, as they could have ties to thefts in other states.

Police found the property that had been stolen from Lyons along with “a vast amount of boxes of Nike shoes and Adidas shoes” along with other high-priced products from Apple, jeans worth $350 a pair, T-shirts valued at $55 each, and luxury watches.

Among the items recovered were basketball shoes intended for the men’s college teams at Indiana, Arizona State and Kansas, he said.

“They were operating out of there, selling shoes and also selling merchandise to wholesalers,” Herion said of the crime ring.

Some of the thefts were from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Pacific property, he said.

“We are coordinating with federal agencies because this is an interstate theft ring. The approximate value is close to $5 million in merchandise. I believe the Nike shoes were close to $3.5 million,” Herion said.

“Nike said this is the biggest seizure of stolen merchandise they had in 2023 and of the biggest in history for Nike,” the chief added.

Lyons police, he said, “leave no stone unturned.”

“When we get a crime, we do everything we possibly can to solve that problem as fast as possible. Our goal is safety of victims, protection of residents and, in the end, recovery of property. We did all three. Everything worked out exceptionally well,” Herion said.

Future charges are likely against the two men who have been arrested, he said.

“It’s a very sophisticated, very well-run operation,” Herion said. “Maybe they have inside information, not from the railroad, but from the shippers? We don’t know that yet. That’s what we’re looking for.

“But they’re able to hook up to these trailers, take them off the premises and take them to a location that was either in their state, where they’d unload it and mail (items) to Chicago, or if a Chicago theft, drive them right to the location,” Herion said.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is looking for stolen merchandise, he said.

“This is branching out. Every day, it gets a little bit bigger,” Herion said.

To avoid this problem from growing, Herion said he would “put GPS into every vehicle. … You can track a car anywhere. Where is it at, what neighborhood is it going to?”

Adding a GPS unit to semitrailers would “make it very easy to track these loads.”

The showroom on Roosevelt Road included vintage Air Jordan shoes selling for $2,000 or more, he said. Some shoes were selling for $15,000 a pair.

“If I own a shoe store and buy product, I’m going to the manufacturer. I’m not going to go to a warehouse at 5420 W. Roosevelt Road to buy a shipment of shoes I can sell at my store. That’s not how you do it.”

Some retailers that purchased items were mom-and-pop stores. Others were larger companies.

“Whether they knew it was stolen or not, I don’t know. Whether they thought it was a wholesale house, I don’t know. But there’s no doubt they were able to save a lot of money on a lot of products.

“This is all about money,” Herion added.

After the news conference, Village Trustee Dan Hilker said “the police did a good job.”

“I hope the community recognizes this. They look out for the community,” Hilker said. “Tom (Herion) does a good job. He keeps a nice mix of older and younger officers working together.”

dvn 10 12 lyons bust room full of stolen merch

Boxes of stolen merchandise were recovered from a warehouse in Chicago. (Supplied photo)


  1. Cinderella on October 12, 2023 at 9:23 pm

    Unbelievable. But then it figures.

  2. […] Story continues […]

  3. Lois Lawson on October 15, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    What a wonderful news story this is! I wish all community Police were as vigilant! Good job, guys!

Local News

A security-camera image of the man wanted for the crimes. --Supplied photo

Hunt man who tried to rob Chase Bank

Spread the love

Spread the love. FBI looking for tips from public .  From staff reports FBI officials are appealing to the public for help in finding a man who attempted to rob a Southwest Side bank branch. The bandit tried to rob the Chase Bank branch at 5687 S. Archer (just west of Laramie) at about 11…

Congressman Sean Casten, speaking at a Town Hall meeting at Moraine Valley Community College.
(Photos by Jeff Vorva)

Casten lauds Biden for ‘clean energy’ move

Spread the love

Spread the love. From staff reports A move designed to spur the responsible development of clean energy on America’s public lands was recently lauded by U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-6th). The congressman, co-chairman of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Clean Energy Deployment Task Force, joined by co-chairman Mike Levin (D-Calif.), released a…


E-Notary makes things easier, Giannoulias says

Spread the love

Spread the love. From staff reports Illinois residents will no longer have to notarize documents in person under a new Electronic-Notary system administered by Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias’ office. Electronic Notarization, or “E-Notary,” will radically change the way people and use notary services, Giannoulias predicted. Without leaving the home or office, an individual or…

Fire Bureau Chief David Wheeler (from left), Mayor Terry Vorderer and Police Chief Daniel Vittorio congratulate the winners of the 2023 Fire and Safety Coloring Book Contest during the April 9 Oak Lawn Village Board meeting. (Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn honor Fire and Public Safety Contest winners

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Joe Boyle The Oak Lawn Chamber of Commerce presented awards to the winners of the 2023 Fire and Public Safety Coloring Book Contest at the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting on April 9. Fire Bureau Chief David Wheeler and Police Chief Daniel Vittoro were on hand to present the plaques, along with Oak…

Abdelnasser Rashid

Rashid scolds TV news orgs on climate change

Spread the love

Spread the love. From staff reports State Rep. Abdelnasser Rashid (D-21st) recently scolded major news organizations for what he called a lack of attention to climate change. “Last year was marked by alarming climate extremes, from record-breaking heat waves to devastating floods, droughts and wildfires,” Rashid wrote earlier this month in a letter to his…

Ross Dress for Less is taking some space in the former Walt's Food Store in Tinley Park. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Ross to replace Walt’s at Tinley Park Plaza

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong When Walt’s Foods closed its Tinley Park location almost three years ago, it left a giant hole in the Tinley Park Plaza near 159th Street and Harlem Avenue. That hole will soon be filled with a new 22,000-square-foot Ross Dress for Less store and a 9,800-square-foot Five Below store. A…

This family was one of many that attended an Iftar dinner at Simmons Middle School in Oak Lawn. (Photos by Nuha Abdessalam)

SD122 celebrates end of Ramadan at Simmons Middle School

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Nuha Abdessalam As Ramadan was drawing to a close for Muslims worldwide, District 122’s Superintendent Joseph Matise, Oak Lawn Community High School’s Muslim Students Association club, and the district’s Parents Committee came together to create history. They hosted the first-ever Iftar dinner at Simmons Middle School on April 8, a significant event…

Theresa Marketti, Green Committee member of the Orland Park Public Library, is happy to announce the launch of the library's first-ever Candy Bar Recycling Program. Candy wrappers can be dropped off at the library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park. (Supplied photo)

Orland Park Library collecting candy wrappers

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Candy has taken on a whole new life at one local library. The Orland Park Public Library, 14921 S. Ravinia Ave., Orland Park, is happy to announce the launch of its very first Trash or Treasure candy wrapper recycling campaign. The Trash or Treasure program helps reduce the waste that…

Andre Showers’ fiancée Destiny pins the police badge on his uniform at last week’s Hickory Hills City Council meeting. (Photos by Nuha Abdessalam)

Hickory Hills adds new police officer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Nuha Abdessalam Hickory Hills Police Chief Jason Bray welcomed Andre Showers as the city’s newest police officer during last week’s city council meeting. Aldermen and the community at the April 11 meeting helped celebrate the induction of the Showers, 21. He’s an Army veteran and a 2023 Cook County Correctional Camp graduate…

Marist High School, 4200 W. 115th St., Chicago, hosted its second annual Celebration of Culture Night on March 14. (Supplied photo)

Marist celebrates cultural diversity

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White Marist High School appreciates the wide array of culture that walks its campus hallways on a daily basis. In order to celebrate, the high school, 4200 W. 115th St., Chicago, hosted its second annual Celebration of Culture on March 14. During the free event, students, faculty and staff represented their…


Chippewa Elementary School second-grader, Nicholas Bass, 8, of Palos Heights, proudly showed off his artwork at the 15th annual Arts Extravaganza. (Photos by Kelly White)

SD218 puts on annual Arts Extravaganza

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kelly White The arts have become a major portion of the curriculum Community High School District 218. Showcasing those many talents, the Friends of CHSD 218’s Education Foundation proudly hosted its 15th annual Arts Extravaganza on April 5 at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island. “The Arts Extravaganza is a great event…

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and the village board are making it tougher for businesses to get gaming licenses. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Gaming licenses to be tougher to get in Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva It’s going to take longer to receive gaming licenses in Orland Park. The village board passed an ordinance April 15 that would allow table service businesses open at least 36 consecutive months to apply rather than the previous 18 months, and extended the probationary period to 18 months instead of…

Palos Park Commissioner G. Darryl Reed talks about the 2024-25 budget at the April 22 council meeting. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park passes $16 million budget

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva The Palos Park Village Council approved the 2024-25 budget, which totals a little more than $16.3 million at the April 22 village council meeting. According to village documents, it represented an increase of a shade over $603,000 from last year. The village is expecting $13.4 million in revenue and $1.86…

Firefighters inspect the Al Bahaar Restaurant, 39 Orland Square Dr., after extinguishing a fire that was inside the wall of the building and not readily seen. (Photo courtesy of the Orland Fire Protection District)

Fire damages Al Bahaar Restaurant in Orland Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports  Orland Fire Protection District firefighters responded to a fire Monday evening at the Al Bahaar Restaurant, 39 Orland Square Dr. At first, restaurant owners suspected the fire alarm was triggered by a malfunction, but as firefighters inspected the restaurant to reset the fire alarm, they detected a burning smell. “What…


Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound April 24, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Evergreen Park’s Patrick Maroney blocks a kill attempt during a match against T.F. United on April 18. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Year of growth | Evergreen Park enjoying inaugural boys volleyball season

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent After almost 70 years of existence as a high school, Evergreen Park finally has a boys volleyball team. The Mustangs are playing their inaugural season with a junior varsity squad, with some matches being played at the varsity level. Head coach Brian Zofkie is leading this group with assistant…


‘Brazen and cowardly’: Police, community outraged by officer’s slaying

Spread the love

Spread the love.  By Tim Hadac Police and others across the Southwest Side reacted with outrage this week over the slaying of a Chicago Police officer in the early morning hours on Sunday. Officer Luis M. Huesca was shot to death on the street in the 3100 block of West 56th Street at 2:53 a.m.…

Brother Rice junior Gavin Arnold forces the ball over the net during a match against Richards on April 19. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Volleyball | Brother Rice falls to Glenbard West and York, takes 4th at Smack Attack

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent It was a busy weekend in the area for boys volleyball as Brother Rice hosted its 14th annual Smack Attack tournament. The 24-team event played April 19-20 featured area teams Brother Rice, Marist and Richards, along with defending Class 4A champion Glenbard West and two highly rated teams from…

Swanson scores, assists in Red Stars’ win over Reign

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Red Stars improved to 3-1-1 by beating the Seattle Reign, 2-1, on the road on April 21. Mallory Swanson had an assist on an Ali Schlegel goal in the fourth minute and added a goal of her own in the 31st minute. Swanson missed last season after sustaining a knee injury on…

Tatumn Milazzo, shown at media day before the season started, was amused by winning a Save of the Week award. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars’ Tatumn Milazzo has top Save of the Week

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Tatumn Milazzo called her achievement “funny.” The Chicago Red Stars defender and Orland Park native was awarded the NWSL’s Save of the Week after chasing down a ball in a loss to Angel City on April 13. The Save of the Week usually goes to a goalie. Milazzo laughed…