State Briefs 4/18/08

Sara Lee lays off 100 at headquarters

DOWNERS GROVE – About 100 employees at the Sara Lee Corp. headquarters in Downers Grove have been laid off.

Mike Cummins, director of corporate communications, said the workers will be leaving during a two week period.

A total of 300 employees were laid off throughout the company’s North American work force.

“It’s the same cause everywhere,” Cummins said. “One of several actions the company is taking to become more profitable and reducing expenses.”

Cummins said the lay offs were spread throughout departments at the headquarters and not concentrated in one area.

Sara Lee employs 25,000 people in North America. Of those, 1,200 work in Downers Grove, according to Cummins.

The Sara Lee Corp. is a manufacturer of food products including bakery items, meats and beverages.

Suburban Life Publications

Woman chases thief who stole $8,000

PEORIA - A patron of a Peoria tavern chased after a man who stole her purse from the bar late Wednesday night, but lost track of him when she fell down in an alley.

Police were dispatched shortly after midnight to Duffy's Pour House after the bartender called to report a purse snatching.

The 27-year-old victim said she had been sitting at the bar, visiting with the bartender when a male patron walked by and grabbed her purse. Inside the purse was about $8,000, the victim's cell phone and personal items.

The victim immediately ran after the thief in hopes to get back the purse. She followed the thief down the street and as he criss-crossed through yards, only to lose sight of him when she fell down in an alley.

Journal Star, Peoria

Homeless Peorian found beaten

PEORIA - A homeless Peoria man was listed in fair condition Thursday at OSF Saint Francis Medial Center after he was found badly beaten the night before in South Peoria.

A passer-by spotted the victim, 46, who was bleeding profusely from his nose, about 7:50 p.m. on West Proctor Street and called police.

Officers found the man stumbling in the middle of the street with his face and hands covered in blood. He wouldn't respond to their repeated questions as to what occurred, police reports stated.

After paramedics arrived, the victim finally did speak, but only said he had gotten his injuries from falling down.

Journal Star, Peoria

Vehicle services deputy director killed in crash

PATOKA – The deputy director for vehicle services in the Illinois secretary of state's office in Springfield was killed in an automobile accident Thursday evening in Marion County.

Richard Piccioli, 63, who lives in Champaign but works at the Howlett Building in downtown Springfield, had been to the Southern Illinois University campus at Carbondale, where secretary of state's personnel had set up a mobile office to renew licenses and provide other services, said Henry Haupt, secretary of state spokesman. Part of Piccioli's job was to help supervise such mobile office days on campuses, Haupt said.

Piccioli oversaw several divisions within the vehicle services department, including downstate license facilities, Haupt said.

Illinois State Police Master Sgt. Todd Ehrat said the 6:07 p.m. accident occurred along two-lane U.S. 51 near Patoka. The northbound 1999 Nissan Altima driven by Piccioli crossed over the centerline and into the path of a southbound semi-trailer truck.

Piccioli was dead at the scene, authorities said.

Neither the driver of the truck, Jerry Krusemark, 67, of Jesup, Iowa, nor a passenger required hospital treatment. All three people involved were wearing seatbelts, Ehrat said.

“I have a very high opinion of Rich personally and professionally,” Haupt quoted Secretary of State Jesse White as saying. “I'm deeply saddened by this tragic loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Piccioli's survivors include his wife, Janet, son Michael and daughter Laura, Haupt said.

Morgan Memorial Home in Savoy is handling arrangements.

State Journal-Register

Four gang members arrested in kidnapping

ROCKFORD – Police have arrested four members of the Latin Kings, the city’s most violent street gang, who they say kidnapped a man, beat him repeatedly and held him for ransom in the basement of a far west Rockford home.

Winnebago County sheriff’s officials announced the arrests Friday, a week after Jorge Loaiza, 39, was abducted from his car while he was headed to work. Two vehicles surrounded Loaiza’s car, and several men forced him out, tied him up, and drove him in a van to a house on LaClede Avenue, Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro said.

At the house, Loaiza was beaten repeatedly, Iasparro said. He managed to escape his captors with the help of a neighbor, and was treated at a hospital for his injuries.

Ernesto Antonio Martinez, 19, of Rockford; Louis Guajardo, 21, of Belvidere; and Jose Feliz Serrano, 17, of Rockford have been arrested, and each is charged with aggravated vehicle hijacking with a weapon and aggravated kidnapping for ransom.

Also arrested during the investigation were: Christopher Ellis Toney, 18, of Rockford, on an unrelated armed robbery warrant and for possession of a handgun, which was recovered during his arrest.

Police say Martinez, Guajardo, Serrano and Toney are members of the Latin Kings street gang.

Adriana Trejo, 20, of Rockford, was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, armed violence, no firearm owner’s identification card and endangering the life and safety of a child.

Officials said an assault rifle was recovered from her apartment. Iasparro said Trejo is an associate, not a member, of the Latin Kings.

Rockford Register Star