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'Classic Citizen's Arrest' to Defend Block

Group of determined neighbors send message to alleged suspect by appearing at court hearing.

David Hartmann awoke to a bizarre image on March 4. The Skokie resident saw a large man tearing, kicking and destroying his neighbor's $300 steel mailbox at 3 a.m. 

The incident occurred in the 7800 block of East Prairie Road, and Hartmann, along with several of his neighbors, was already dealing with

In December, Don Nilles, another neighbor, had his There were also other reports that two men were casing homes for potential burglaries in February.

So, Hartmann called the police, stayed on the line with the dispatcher and followed the suspect down the street as he left the area.  

“I made sure to keep myself a half a block away from him and police were on the line with me the entire time,” Hartmann told Skokie Patch. “We’ve just had enough.”

Skokie police arrived several minutes later and spotted Jordan A. Barnes, 22, of the 7600 block of East Prairie Road, walking southbound in the general area of the alleged crime.

, officers asked Barnes to stop, at which point he turned around, clenched his fists and began skipping toward police as if he was going to attack them. 

Barnes ultimately complied, however, and proceeded to lie down on the ground where he was arrested and charged with one count of criminal damage to property. All in all, two mailboxes were destroyed, and the value of both items was placed at around $600.

Sending a message

Yet for the five neighbors, the arrest wasn’t enough. The men wanted to send a message to Barnes and the group got together and appeared in court during his hearing on Thursday.

“We saw someone checking out our houses,” said Jim Abram, who also lives on the 7800 block of East Prairie Road and was one of the five residents in court. “We had to draw the line somewhere and make our presence known.”

Nilles, Abram's neighbor and longtime friend, was a former Green Beret during the Vietnam War. Hartmann is a certified public accountant, and Feliciano Garcia, who also had his mailbox destroyed that morning, owns a construction business. 

“You don’t want to mess with these guys,” said Brian Nilles, Don’s 27-year-old son. “It was a classic citizen’s arrest.”

Barnes appeared before Cook County Circuit Court Judge Earl Hoffenberg at the Skokie Courthouse on Thursday. Standing at 6-foot-2 and about 220 pounds, the alleged suspect stood in his blue medical scrubs in front of the judge.

In the end, Barnes was given a continuance for the case as the district attorney wanted to file additional charges.

“Do not have any contact with these people,” Hoffenberg told Barnes after the continuance was issued. 

Yet a puzzled Barnes spoke up and asked the judge how that was possible: He lives down the street from the alleged victims and takes a nearby bus on Oakton Street daily to attend school in downtown Skokie.

“Then I would suggest you walk on another street from now on,” Hoffenberg said.

After the hearing, Barnes told Skokie Patch that he was innocent and never committed the alleged crime. 

“I didn’t do it,” he said. “I was stopped because I was the only one in the area at 3 a.m.”

His next court date is set for April 26. 

Note: View more pictures by clicking "view images" on the picture in the upper right corner. 

Mike Reid March 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM
A great example of what the Skokie police stated time and again what was important. Residents need to be the extra eyes and ears of the community, as the police cannot be everywhere all the time. Great diligence by this group of residents.
Carmen March 25, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Residents have to stepup and these guys were justified. Great job to all.
Skokie Mike March 25, 2011 at 02:03 PM
This is awesome. Makes me proud to be a Skokie resident!
tony March 25, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Barnes is a sociopath and displays psychological compulsive lying tendancies! May god help you all!!!
Anthony March 25, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Now if we can get the judicial system to stop slapping these thugs on the wrist for these crimes. Its time for the skokie citizens to take back the neighborhoods, if these thugs don't want to behave like normal americans then they should be shown the door out of town.
Skokie April 11, 2011 at 07:20 AM
You call him a thug just because he's in the blotter. Clearly "Goes to school in downtown skokie" and was "wearing medical scrubs." A thug indeed. Dont let these crooked masonic cops fool you, they're the real thugs.
Gorgon November 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM
How do you know he is a sociopath with compulsive lying tendencies?
Gorgon November 27, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Thanks for that!!! At least one person understands. Also a few months after the initial incident, the complaining witnesses had people put "food" in the mail box. I know Jordan wasn't doing this because he spends alot of time with his girlfriend in the city, or on the other side of Skokie.
Chicago Police December 04, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Jordan Barnes is an innocent man. Wake up you stupid Skokians......find the real perpetrator you idiots!

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