Most people in Belleville and Madison County have probably never heard of the Wood River Levee and Drainage District. The name may become more familiar in the next few days due to the arrest of the District's secretary-treasurer on theft charges and the resulting political battle that was triggered.
Two recent homicides in East St. Louis may or not be related, but the manner of their discovery was definitely connected. As Illinois state police were investigating reports of a shooting at a public housing complex in East St. Louis, they were unaware that a second corpse was in the basement of vacant apartment building only a few feet away.
Most people in Belleville regard automobiles as a necessary part of modern life, but for some, cars are the source of criminal behavior. A young man from Cahokia has been charged with six very serious felonies in connection with his unsuccessful attempt to steal a car.
Closed circuit TV (CCTV) systems are common security devices. They appear in almost every kind of commercial establishment in Belleville and its neighboring cities. One of the most common uses of CCTV is providing security for banks and other financial institutions. Police in O'Fallon have just released news of how the CCTV system in a bank inside the Schnucks Market has led them to identify a person of interest in a recent robbery.
The police have reported a raid in Swansea in which they arrested the homeowner on charges of trading a room for a supply of methamphetamine from the alleged drug dealer who lived in the room. The case seems ordinary on the surface, but the defendant is raising an energetic defense predicated on a single argument -- the police lied in the affidavit in which she was accused of accepting drugs as rent.
Police use a variety of methods to identify suspected criminals. One of the most common is closed-circuit TV cameras. Sometimes, the cameras provide a high-resolution facial photo and sometimes the cameras reveal more mundane items that can lead to an arrest. In a recent bank robbery in Benton, a pharmacy bag led police to a man who allegedly used a toy pistol to steal $12,500.
One of the principal issues in the current debate over gun control laws is whether gun ownership makes homeowners and their property safe from robbery and other crimes. A recent incident near Belleville provides at least some anecdotal evidence to support the advocates for minimal restrictions on firearm ownership.
Police departments in the Belleville area generally issue a press release after they arrest the suspect in a major crime. The press release usually contains a description of the crime, identifies the suspect and describes how police found the suspect. In a recent arrest in Belleville, the press release appears to raise more questions than it answers.
In 1965, police departments in the Greater St. Louis Area formed the Major Case Squad to help with the investigations of serious crimes. The agency now comprises 119 separate police departments, including the Belleville Police Department. Any of the cooperating police departments can ask the Major Case Squad for assistance, and the requesting department will be assigned highly trained investigators and other experts to assist in the investigation. The MCS was recently called in to help the Cahokia Police Department investigate the shooting of three teenagers.
Sexual abuse can come to light in many ways. One of the most common is an allegation of sexual abuse made to a health care professional. Medical care givers are required to report such allegations to the police. A recent incident involving a teen-age girl's statement to a medical professional has resulted in nearly a dozen charges of sexual abuse being levied at a Belleville man.