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Police probe vandalism to offices of lawmakers

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Pioneer Press
by KAREN BERKOWITZ

Police Tuesday were continuing to investigate the weekend break-in and vandalism that occurred at the Evanston legislative offices of U.S. Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-9th, and three other elected officials.

During the break-in at 820 Davis St., intruders discharged a fire extinguisher, leaving a white powdery coating "on everything it landed on," said Lt. Joseph Bellino of the Evanston Police Department.

"Nothing was reported missing from any of the offices," Bellino said.

The offices are shared by Schakowsky and state Sen. Jeffrey M. Schoenberg, D-9th, state Rep. Julie R. Hamos, D-18th, and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-13th.

No message was left at the scene to suggest a motive for the break-in, which occurred some time between 5 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.

According to Bellino, officers found no sign of forced entry to the building's front door, which opens onto the street. Once inside, the perpetrators apparently used a pedestal sign to break the interior glass door of the offices shared by the legislators.

A Schakowsky staff member discovered the break-in while stopping by the office to pick up something at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The police lieutenant said investigators were trying to determine whether the vandals also targeted a second-floor office in the building, where a damaged door knob was repaired by a custodian Saturday.

The legislators' offices were closed Monday and Tuesday for cleaning, but they were expected to reopen Wednesday.

"When you release a fire extinguisher it leaves a fine talc, like baby powder, that gets into the machines, on the walls and into the ventilation system," said Dave Davis, Suffredin's office manager.

"It's an extensive cleaning job," he said. "They have to get into all the nooks and crannies."



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