John Buehlhorn, a west Belleville resident who has been a skateboarder for over 30 years, put his wheels to work to help track down a burglary suspect.
Buehlhorn likes to walk up the hill on Glenview Drive and then skateboard down back to his house. When he was out with his board on May 15, he spotted a man who fit the description of a suspect in a burglary reported about week earlier by his neighbor, who had shown Buehlhorn a surveillance video of the break-in. This was one of 18 burglaries in the area, including one at Buehlhorn’s house.
After a brief encounter with the suspect, Buehlhorn, 46, then hopped on his skateboard to his truck and started to follow the suspect who had fled in an SUV. Buehlhorn followed the suspect on several streets in Belleville and East St. Louis. He later gave police the license plate of the vehicle used by the suspect.
“The information that he relayed to us was how we were able to solve the case,” Belleville Police Capt. Matt Eiskant said. “He did an excellent job and it’s all about the police and the community working together.”
On Tuesday night at the Belleville City Council meeting, Mayor Mark Eckert gave Buehlhorn an official commendation on behalf the police department for his assistance.
The information that he relayed to us was how we were able to solve the case. He did an excellent job and it’s all about the police and the community working together.
Belleville Police Capt. Matt Eiskant
When asked what prompted him to jump into the fray to help his neighbor, Buehlhorn said, “He would have done it for me.”
Information Buehlhorn gave police led officers to Amir Hunt-Salaam, 22, of East St. Louis. Hunt-Salaam was arrested in May during a traffic stop when police seized a firearm stolen from Buehlhorn’s neighbor’s home.
Hunt-Salaam faces multiple charges, including burglary, armed violence and two counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance. Other suspects also have been arrested in the burglaries on the west side.
In other business
Aldermen took the following action Tuesday night:
▪ Approved a site plan for a 22-building apartment complex that will have 352 one- and two-bedroom apartments on the city’s east end. The planned complex will be built on 20 acres on the north side of Carlyle Avenue just east of the MetroLink tracks, near Southwestern Illinois College. Developer Barry Hayden expects to have more than 700 parking spaces.
▪ Changed the city’s truancy rules to say a child would be considered truant if he or she misses 5 percent of the previous 180 school days without valid cause. Previously, a child was considered truant if he or she was absent “without valid cause” for 10 percent of the previous 180 school days.
▪ Passed a resolution in support of an application for a $30,000 grant from the St. Clair County Parks Grant Commission for improvements at Laderman Park at 1105 Mascoutah Ave. According to the grant application, the funds would go toward purchasing new fitness equipment to replace the park’s current, outdated equipment. The new equipment would be installed and ready for use by November.
The City Council meeting took place place inside the banquet hall within the Alan J. Dixon Building at 2600 W. Main St. on Lindenwood University-Belleville’s campus because City Hall will be renovated. Aldermen are expected to use the banquet hall for City Council meetings until the renovation is finished early next year.