Law and Order, Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Park Forest Man Charged with Arson: Police Reports Through January 21, 2023


Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Park Forest man was charged with arson after police responded to Juniper Towers on January 19 to assist Park Forest Firefighters in the investigation of a fire. This was one of three incidents officers investigate in mid-January.

Warrants

Corell B. Franklin, 28, 286 Ash St., Park Forest, was arrested on January 16 and taken into custody in connection with two warrants: one out of Park Forest on a charge of disorderly conduct and the second a bond forfeiture warrant out of Matteson on a charge of theft. Police were dispatched to the area of Western Avenue in South Street called in by Canadian National Railway to investigate a report that a man was allegedly holding a 2 x 4 and jumped on the tracks when a train was coming, according to the report.

When asked, Mr. Franklin told police he was not trying to harm himself but was walking to the store, carrying the stick because he had a bad leg. After checking his information in the police database, officers learned of the warrants.

Arson

Lamont A. Powells, 39, 350 Juniper St., Park Forest, was arrested on January 19 and charged with arson after police responded on January 17 around 9:42 PM to Juniper Towers to assist the fire Department. SouthCom dispatch alerted responders that there was heavy smoke coming from under the door of a unit where an elderly woman lives. Additional police units responded to the scene to assist.

Officers could hear an audible fire alarm as they approached Juniper Towers. Two officers entered the southeast stairwell and went right to the fourth floor where the fire was, noticing a “burning sent,” according to the report. They were met by a wall of smoke.

The officers began knocking on the doors of tenants in an attempt to evacuate them for their safety. While doing this, a Park Forest Firefighter told an officer that the fire was extinguished and firefighters had to force entry into the unit to make sure no one was inside. Firefighters found the unit unoccupied.

Firefighters also told police that there was no apparent fire or damage within the unit and that the damage was isolated to the exterior of the front door, according to the report.

One officer returned to his patrol vehicle to retrieve a camera to photograph the scene. While outside, he apprised a commander of what he had been told and that the fire was a possible arson.

A woman motioned to the officer and said she had just returned to the Juniper Towers. She was visibly shaken from the incident, according to police. She sat in her walker near the mailboxes in the foyer and asked why anyone would set fire to her door. She told officers that she had just returned home from visiting a relative and shopping.

While speaking with the woman, a man, later identified as Lamont A. Powells, approached the officer and the woman. The woman immediately stopped speaking with the officer and stared directly at Mr. Powells, police said. After a brief pause, the officer asked if something was going on between the two. Mr. Powells shook his head no and the woman said that her apartment was on fire, the door. The officer allegedly heard Mr. Powell reply, “I got nothing to do with it,” according to police.

The woman said that the cameras would show who did it, according to police. Mr. Powells mumbled, “Foshow,” and shook his head no, then stated that he was not going anywhere, according to police.

The officer again asked what was going on between the two and Mr. Powells allegedly said, “I ain’t did nothing,” according to the report.

A detective responded to the scene and obtained and watched a copy of the video surveillance footage that showed the incident, according to police. At this time, police allegedly identified Mr. Powells as the individual responsible for what the report calls, “aggravated arson,” according to police.

An officer had a temporary warrant issued in Mr. Powells’s name in connection with the incident and he was taken into custody on January 19.

Domestic Battery

Crystal Powell, 22, 55 N. Arbor Trail #106, Park Forest, was arrested on January 21 and charged with domestic battery, endangering the life/health of a child, and criminal damage to property when police responded to a North Arbor Trail apartment at 1:20 AM to investigate a report of domestic battery.

A neighbor reported hearing loud screaming by a man and woman coming from the hallway near an apartment.

A responding officer entered the first-floor lobby and saw a woman crying. She allegedly held a wooden stick in her hand, according to police. The woman said that she did not wish to speak with officers and walked outside through the rear entrance door, according to police.

An officer followed her outside and subsequently spoke with her. She told police that earlier in the day, on January 20, a neighbor told her she needed to stop coming up to the fifth floor and causing a disturbance with his neighbor, according to police. On this night, at around 12:30 AM, Ms. Powell went to the fifth-floor apartment to allegedly confront a man regarding him spreading false rumors about her, according to police. She said she knocked on the door for several minutes before someone answered and asked her to leave through the partially opened door.

Ms. Powell said that she began speaking with the man regarding rumors he had allegedly been spreading to their neighbors and that he began physically assaulting her by choking her, using two hands, for several seconds, according to police. Ms. Powell said the man allegedly threw her to the ground and continued to choke her but she did not lose consciousness or have shortness of breath, according to police.

Ms. Powell told officers that she did not wish to pursue charges against the man, according to police. Police alleged in the report that she was uncooperative with officers, refusing to detail much of the incident, according to police.

Police did not observe any signs of injury to Ms. Powell and she allegedly refused to be seen by paramedics, according to police.

An officer then went to the fifth floor and spoke to a man who said he had a relationship with Ms. Powell when the two were intoxicated but informed Ms. Powell afterward that their getting together was a mistake and that they would only be friends, according to police. Ms. Powell subsequently rented an apartment several months later inside the same building as the man, on the first floor, and allegedly continued to pursue a relationship with him, according to police.

The man claimed that Ms. Powell became “obsessed with him,” according to police. Ms. Powell allegedly placed Apple Air Tags on his vehicle and allegedly began making threats to harm him, according to police.

On this night, the man said Ms. Powell came to his door which he opened partially, according to the report. Ms. Powell then allegedly reached inside the door in an attempt to gain entry into his residence. The man said he then pushed Ms. Powell backward out of his doorway, at which time she allegedly grabbed him by his neck and shirt, according to police.

Ms. Powell allegedly scratched him several times on the right side of his neck, chest, and left forearm leaving him with fresh scratches and redness to his skin, according to police.

Ms. Powell then allegedly pulled him from his door into the hallway and continued to scratch him, according to police. When he pushed Ms. Powell away in an attempt to free himself, he alleged that she stumbled backward into the wall causing damage to the drywall directly across from his door, according to police. The man was then able to reenter his residence and locked his door, leaving Ms. Powell outside in the hallway.

The man told police he wish to pursue charges of domestic battery against Ms. Powell.

About Police Reports

Please note that we repeatedly say “according to police” in these reports and often use “allegedly.” We are not asserting in any way that those police arrested and charged committed any offenses. We report on what is in the reports that the police furnish to us. As those accused are innocent until proven guilty, the burden is on prosecutors and police to prove all alleged crimes.

eNews Park Forest has continuously published the addresses of those arrested and will continue to do so. 5 ILCS 140/2.15 states that the governmental body (for these reports, the Police Department), shall release information on those charged, including their name, age, and address. This information is necessary to ensure the proper identity of those arrested.

Presumption of Innocence

An arrest does not mean that a person is guilty. The law presumes all those whom police arrest are innocent until proven guilty. It is the policy of eNews Park Forest not to remove items from the public record from publication. Suppose you find your name in the police reports. Our policy is that we will only add information relevant to the final disposition of the case at hand, e.g., “Mr. Smith was subsequently acquitted,” “Mr. Smith entered a guilty plea,” or “All charges against Mr. Smith were subsequently dropped.” We will do so upon receiving and verifying proof of such disposition.

We do not strike, “unpublish,” or delete news.

Police captured all the incidents in this report on body-worn and dash-mounted cameras by officers at the respective scenes, according to police. All Park Forest police officers wear body-worn cameras. Officials typically abbreviate these devices as BWC in the reports.

We encourage persons wishing to leave anonymous information on any criminal matters, including narcotics or gang activity, to call the Park Forest Police Department Investigations Division at (708) 748-1309.


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