Popcorn and Problematic Celebrity Siblings: Weird Crimes

Another identity thief tries to snatch unemployment • Couple living with man's mom accused of stealing her credit card ... This week's roundup of weird crime news in the Southland.

More Unemployment Problems From ID Thieves

JAN. 16: Another New Lenox resident has fallen prey to an identity thief looking to go on unemployment.

On Saturday, a New Lenox police officer was "dispatched to the 900 block of Haven reference a report of identity theft," police said. "The complainant advised that an unknown person attempted to use her personal information to obtain unemployment benefits."

Just eight days before, the police were alerted to an identical identity scam.

The crimes were forwarded to the police department's investigations division for review.

Read more on New Lenox Patch

Bryant Gumbel's Sister

JAN. 21: The sister of Bryant and Greg Gumbel spent the night in jail after the Mokena police arrested her for allegedly attacking her former fiance.

Prosecutors opted not to pursue charges against Renee Gumbel, 49, during Will County bond court Wednesday afternoon.

Gumbel was arrested Tuesday morning at Holly's Gourmet Popcorn in Mokena. Her former fiance, Steven Hamilton, 50, is the president of the popcorn business.

A Mokena police officer sent to the popcorn place to investigate a domestic dispute found Gumbel standing outside, a report said. It didn't take long before she let the cop know she slapped Hamilton, according to the police report.

Gumbel told the officer she had ended her engagement to Hamilton, with whom she lives in Orland Park, two nights prior, the report said. She had gone to his popcorn business to get back a set of car keys, the report said.

Hamilton put her off, telling her he was busy working and that they had discussed setting up a time to return the keys, the report said.

Gumbel and Hamilton "began to argue, at which time she picked up a coffee cup full of warm tea and threw it at him," the report said. "She then picked up and threw his laptop computer causing damage to the corner of the computer."

Hamilton tried to "convince her to leave the business," the report said, but Gumbel "punched him with a closed fist to the left side of his face."

An employee of the popcorn business, 56-year-old Gayann Nelson, who was the one who called the cops, backed up Hamilton's story, police said.

After Gumbel was cuffed and taken into custody, she agreed to talk and admitted to dropping in on Hamilton unannounced, the report said. But when an officer asked why she struck her ex-fiance, she "said she did not want to answer any more questions," according to the report.

Gumbel appeared before Judge Roger Rickmon via video broadcast from the Will County jail. She thanked the judge when he told her she was free to go.

Hamilton attended the hearing and voiced disappointment that prosecutors were declining to charge her with domestic battery and criminal damage to property.

"There were facts," Hamilton said, adding, "Property was broken."

Hamilton said he was considering a lawsuit against Gumbel for the broken computer and wondered aloud whether her brothers' celebrity factored into the decision by prosecutors. He also did not rule out reconciling with Gumbel but was not sure she would be willing to.

Charles B. Pelkie, the spokesman for the Will County State's Attorney's Office, said Hamilton later spoke with a prosecutor and has come to grips with the decision to let Gumbel go free.

"We explained to him the reasons for not going forward and at this point he seems to understand the state's position on this," Pelkie said.

"We've got a guy who refused to return property to this woman," Pelkie said. "There's a disparity in size—he's much bigger, larger than this woman. There was no injury. She spent the night in jail. She has no criminal background. These are the factors that the state took into account when we made the determination not to pursue the charges in this case."

Read more on New Lenox Patch

A Couple That Steals Mom’s Credit Card Together ...

A Frankfort man and his girlfriend allegedly took his mother's credit card and used it at a local service station.

James Jacobsen, 41, and Valerie Korte, 28, were charged with the unlawful possession of another's credit card.

According to a petition for a protective order written by Jacobsen's mother, Beverly Hopkins, Will County detectives arrested her boy and Korte when they dropped by to show her surveillance photos from the Speedway on LaGrange Road in Frankfort.

When the law showed up, "my son James came out to calm down the dog," Hopkins, 66, wrote in her petition.

"The detectives recognized James as one of the persons from the Speedway photos," Hopkins wrote. "Shortly after Valerie Korte came out of the room as well. As I was looking at the pictures, I noticed the one with Valerie. In the third picture I noticed my son James was at the counter making purchases with one of the stolen debit/credit cards."

Hopkins identified the alleged credit card crooks, giving up her son and Korte to the cops. The couple was then carted off to the county jail. Korte is being held on $15,000 bond and Jacobsen on $25,000.

In her petition, Hopkins wrote that Korte has been living under her roof with Jacobsen since October.

"She has also stayed with us in the past," Hopkins wrote. "Valerie has been abusing prescription drugs, crack, heroin, marijuana. She drinks alcohol."

Hopkins only sought protection from Korte and blames her for the fix her son is in.

"Valerie is a bad influence on my son, James," Hopkins wrote. "Because of his relationship with Valerie, James does bad things he normally would not do if she was not around.

"I want this order of protection to keep Valerie out of my house," Hopkins wrote. "She only brings drama and trouble. Valerie cuts herself. I don't want her around my family."

Read more on Frankfort Patch

Police report information is provided by local police departments. Charges are not evidence of guilt. They are a record of police actions on a given day, and persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. If you or a family member are charged or cited and the case is subsequently adjudicated, we encourage you to notify the editor. We will verify and report the outcome.

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