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In recent weeks, the Park Forest Police Department have alerted the public to four reports of a male suspect forcing entry into the homes of women there alone, battering and tying them up, and leaving with valuables. Similar incidents were reported on Jackson Street, Western Avenue, and twice on Onarga Street in Park Forest.
Police have arrested Dexter Harris, 31, of Park Forest, who has been charged in connection with the crimes. Bail has been set at $1,000,000.
The investigation uncovered that Harris, previously of Chicago, had recently moved to the 23400 block of S. Western Avenue in Park Forest. Harris is a convicted sex offender who failed to register in Park Forest as required by state law.
Harris was arrested in the early morning hours of Nov. 29 after a Park Forest resident reported suspicious activity on Monee Road. Harris was taken into custody by an alert patrol officer after he was suspected of trespassing and exhibited suspicious behavior.
Investigators were able to link Harris with two home invasions in which he is now charged through physical evidence and witness statements. Two other similar incidents remain under investigation. Police anticipate further charges to be filed at a later date.
Harris appeared at a bond hearing at the Cook County Markham Courthouse on Dec. 1. He is being held on $510,000 bond.
Park Forest Police have released the following statement related to the case: "The partnership between the residents of Park Forest and the Park Forest Police Department is a primary reason for the Park Forest Police Department’s high clearance rate in incidents like this. The message should be clear: Targeting residents of Park Forest will ensure that no effort is spared in bringing the offender to justice."