Readers React to Arrests of Deerfield Teens for Highland Park Burglary

Armed home invasion leads many readers to question their safety and wonder what their own kids are up to.

Days after Highland Park Police , readers continue to flood Patch with comments.


Deerfield residents Joseph J. Mahoney and Joshua S. Norris, both 17, were charged as adults for They are charged with home invasion, residential burglary and possession of a stolen firearm, according to the Highland Park Police Department. They were transferred to the Lake County court building, where bond was set at $150,000 each. Both bonded out last Friday.

Residents wonder about their kids

The incident has left many residents in both Highland Park and Deerfield stunned, apprehensive about their safety and curious about what their own children are up to.

"As a parent of two little girls it does scare me a little to see what is out there," writes . "You raise your kids and hope you did a good job. You spend time with them."

Another reader asked that commenters refrain from jumping to conclusions about what happened before more information is revealed. There is currently little known about why the house was targeted and what the offenders hoped to get, though Deputy Police Chief Dave Schwarz told Patch that "it wasn't random."

"You never know how kids are 'wired' until you meet up with these unimaginable situations," writes . "It could be any one of our kids making bad choices. We need to be a community of concerned, but, most importantly, kind people."

Kudos to police department

Several readers praised the police work that led to the arrests only hours after the burglary occurred. The investigation involved help from nearby police departments including Deerfield, Lake Forest and a canine unit from North Chicago. One reader commented specifically on the use of reverse-911, a phone service where the Highland Park Police calls residents to warn them of potentially dangerous situations occurring in the community.

"Kudos to the Highland Park police Department for using the connect CTY warning system," writes . "Great Job of protecting your residents. And next time you wonder if your tax dollars are being spent wisely, think of this technology!"

Innocent until proven guilty

In addition to larger subjects like community safety, raising a teenager and gun control, the overwhelming question driving the comments has been "Why did this happen?"

While many residents have continued to speculate what could motivate teens to pick up a gun and break into a nearby home, others have advised against inferring or judging until the trial.

"I'd fully expect a young man of 17 years old to know right from wrong, to realize that someone could get killed with a firearm, and to realize that he himself could get killed if he chose to rob someone or invade their home," writes . "We have to wait to see how this all plays out in court."

takes Greenberg's sentiment a step further, reminding readers that "this is still America. They're innocent until PROVEN guilty."

"And, in my opinion," he writes, "Everyone deserves a second chance."

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Harry Steindler August 10, 2012 at 06:04 AM
And I also agree with Dr. Deerfield that situations like this should be opportunities for those directly involved and for all of us to learn and grow and do better. Everyone has the choice to do that. Time will tell what that opportunity will be for Joe and Josh.
CDR August 11, 2012 at 07:00 AM
As a student who knows both, I can say I'm not suprised for Joe's decision. He is also the student who earlier in the year had the tar beaten out of him for taunting an African american student with racial slurs to get a reaction. The only thing for him is cold hard prison time. As for josh, he got involved with the wrong crowd and I am sorry to see him make mistakes like this but the law is the law. They stole a gun, broke into someone's home, and you people are treating it like they dipped a girls pig tails in the ink well! If it were your home they broke into, you would not be so sympathetic.
CDR August 11, 2012 at 07:04 AM
Never help the police?! You scum. You north shore spoiled brat moron. I hope teens just into your house with loaded guns. Then maybe you'll appreciate what the police do for you, you ungrateful loser.
David Hacker August 12, 2012 at 02:45 PM
When one is aware of the acts one performs, I think that he is then responsible for them. These young adults must have prepared themselves for the act they commited and should be subjected to the fullest letter of the law. I hope that the community is sufficiently outraged at their behavior to show no mercy. They should be treated as adults in a court of law. D. Hacker Highland Park
Joe Mahoney August 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM
They are innocent!!!! They have the wrong people.
John August 12, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Ryandood August 13, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Deerfield police are the worst who will do anything to give somebody a ticket
Ryandood August 13, 2012 at 02:59 AM
You obviously come from somewhere that is too good for us, you dont knownwhat was going through these kids mind at the time, dont jump to conclusions, you sound very ignorant talking to people as if they are stupid, have some respect for people, its people like you that make the north shore so snobby, have an open mind for once, grow up, and have some decency.
Steve S. August 13, 2012 at 10:16 PM
What would be a situation then where rehabilitation would be warranted? Should there be some leniency based on how many offenses or not? I'm just curious where you draw the line on subjecting these people to the fullest letter of the law. I am certain that the community is outraged on this one, when is it ok to show mercy on the criminal? For the record, I am not for showing mercy to these boys if they are convicted in court.
David Greenberg August 13, 2012 at 11:15 PM
I'd argue that the problem is that our prison system isn't really setup for rehabilitation, more for punishment. If you look to a country such as Israel - they're so small in area that they realize that once the crook gets out, they're going to have to live with this person. So they focus on rehabilitation for their prisoners. As a result, they have less recidivism. Contrast with our prison system which could best be described as "Criminal University" where criminals go to hone their skills (and their shanks!). There's no quick and easy solution to this either. It'll take a combination of things - changing of laws, sentencing guidelines, funding, etc... As for the Deerfield Duo we've been discussing here: A cocked and loaded firearm brought to a home invasion? Yeah, there's apparently some intent there, and given their discussed past criminal histories, I wouldn't be too keen on cutting them a break.
Harry Steindler August 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM
David - you say "cocked and loaded firearm" - has that fact been disclosed in any of the stories in the media?
David Greenberg August 14, 2012 at 03:16 AM
I believe that I saw it in a news article - I'll try to find the source.
Steve S. August 14, 2012 at 01:20 PM
I keep asking the same question but cannot find where that was reported, I unofficially asked an attourney the question of intent and the answer I got was it doesn't matter if the gun is loaded or not, if there is a gun, there is intent because the victim doesn't know what is in the chamber. So I suppose it doesn't reallly matter what was in the chamber.
ResidentDeerfield August 17, 2012 at 03:05 PM
David Greenberg and RonnieTheLimoDriver listen closely. Consistently throughout these comments you have been posting inconsiderate, unwanted and often counter factual information regarding the situation. First off, I will tell you right now that the firearm was in fact NOT cocked OR loaded. I know this as a fact and you simply have no evidence to show that it was nor any reason to make assumptions that it was-so I ask you to stop posting this bullshit. Secondly, you literally have no idea the motive of these boys nor the mitigating circumstances involved and should therefore refrain from making assumptions such that THEY WANTED TO FLIPPING KILL SOMEBODY. Lastly, for people such as you to have the audacity to degrade the parents of these boys is absolutely ridiculous. Personally knowing both parents of one of the boys I can say that they are very well respected people, both with doctoral degrees and great respect for the community. Unfortunately the actions of their child will reflect badly upon them and all I can say is that I feel terrible for them. So I ask you to stop the unnecessary gossip because it is honestly personally offending many people and is nothing but negative input. I agree that these boys should DEFINITELY be reprimanded because of what they did, don't get me wrong-I just ask that you cut the unnecessary, disrespectful and assumption based comments. Thanks.
David Greenberg August 17, 2012 at 05:15 PM
RD: The motive of these young men doesn't matter. You don't get to invade someone's home, let alone with a firearm. Mitigating circumstances? They stole a gun, they went to another house with said gun and invaded that other house with the gun they stole. What justifies that? If someone stole something from them - call the Police. If someone's threatening harm to someone they know - call the Police. If a business deal went bad - eat the loss, or file a civil suit. But you invade a house with a firearm, and the homeowner has no way to know if that gun is loaded or not - all they know is that you're not invited and you're armed. Those kids are seriously lucky they're not dead. Where did I say anything about the parents? I've always said we'll have to see how this thing plays out in court. And if I'm offending people with my comments, well that's certainly unfortunate - not my intention at all. I'm engaging in a discussion about a topic that's of interest to our community - if some people are offended because we're holding a discussion, that's again unfortunate, but there's nothing wrong with discussing this topic.
Steve S. August 17, 2012 at 05:38 PM
And the breaking news today that the kid living in the home broken in to was arrested for dealing pot. It doesn't minimize what the armed robbers did but gives more insight to why this happened. And for everyone who mocked myself and others for allowing the case to play out in court, your poor victim was NOT innocent, and this kids didn't randomly pick the house. They went to the DRUG DEALERS HOUSE. That being said, I feel for the families and hope regardless of what punishment goes down for the 3 boys I hope they can make a better life for themselves after they fulfill their legal obligations.
Steve S. August 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
And it shouldn't matter whether a gun is loaded and cocked when being used in a robbery. I would advise to always assume a weapon pointed in your direction is loaded and get out of the line of fire quickly, bullets or no bullets, no One wants find the answer to that question after the trigger is accidentally pulled.
RonnieTheLimoDriver August 17, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I love being called out with David on this. None of my comments were irresponsible. I never made one negative comment on the parenting. In fact I said to do so without more data was unfair. As to the gun being loaded or "cocked", that was reported by more than one media report. I never made it up. How do you know any of these facts? As david stated above, and I have said all along, the motive DOES NOT MATTER. These men should not be "reprimanded" they should be jailed. And they will. I am personally offended by the number of apologists for these criminals. This is not what Deerfield is about. This is not what Highland Park is about. The people here are successful because they follow the laws, not ignore them. The people here value hard work and got to this point in their life by making good choices not bad. How many people here have pointed a firearm (loaded or unloaded) at another human? I never have.
RonnieTheLimoDriver August 17, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Wait a second. Everybody defends the parents of the burglars, but not the parents of the drug dealer? The alleged drug dealer lived with his parents. They were innocent, no? The younger brother was innocent, no? I guess who you defend in this town is based on who you know personally, not the facts.
Steve S. August 17, 2012 at 08:06 PM
My feeling with both parents is, and I know all of them personally. They are all good parents, their kids got away from them, it's not fair to judge the rest of the families(parents and siblings) for what all 3 of the boys did. Hopefully all 3 families have learned the ultimate lesson and will get the kids the proper treatment after they serve their time or whatever. I don't think this is a Deerfield vs highland park thing and if that's what any of my comments sounded like then I apologize, that is not the case. It was not Ronnie and Davids comments that bothered me, it was the people judging and and assuming the what's and whys of this situation. They have a right to those feelings an if it was my house I'd probably feel the same anger. But, the 3 boys committed crimes, let the judge determine the punishment not the audience. The audience judges by emotion, the judge judges by the law, the key is to watch outrkids and friends of our kids and if we know or think anything that could lead to these acts such as doing OR dealing drugs, lets stop it, call the parents call the cops stop before it happens. The blame game doesn't change anything.
ResidentDeerfield August 17, 2012 at 09:28 PM
RonnieTheLimoDriver August 17, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Good luck passing 7th grade. If you are going to call somebody a name at least spell it right. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douche
David Greenberg August 17, 2012 at 09:45 PM
"They are all good parents, their kids got away from them, it's not fair to judge the rest of the families" - I'll give you that one, unless we get some info to the contrary. It's not uncommon that kids do things that parent's don't find out about right away, if ever. "I don't think this is a Deerfield vs highland park thing" - I don't either. I said that above as a tongue-in-cheek thing because of the long-standing friendly rivalry between our two towns... Somehow, I don't think it'll be a bench trial - these things are typically Jury trials, and while there shouldn't be, there can be a degree of emotion that plays into the decisions rendered by Juries. Then if they're found guilty, it's up to the parties to work out sentencing... It's unfortunate that this whole event occurred. But perhaps, just perhaps, it can be used as a learning point for others in our community and we can avoid such issues in the future.
Ofcourse August 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM
These kids should get what they deserve - two kids broke into a home to steal money and or steal marijuana - in my day at least we were honest and bought our weed the correct way - so if these kids come from well off families and decide to steal and not playby the rules - of course they should get punished especially when they come from money For the kid that was dealing - always a troubled kid from a disfunctional family - it was a matter of time. Anyone could see it the storm coming if you witnessed what I have seen go on.
Ofcourse August 17, 2012 at 09:51 PM
So I blame the parents for not caring enough to hound their childrens doings everyday - its not controlling its called parenting - especially when the mom of the dealer is a user herself of drugs - of course their kid is going to follow in their footsteps.
Allen Goodman August 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
ResidentD - Namecalling? Really? You just tossed out your own credibility. Ronnie - Without getting into the details, your position is harsh. Things are never simply what the seem on the surface, or worse, what you read here. Please allow for some depth, or complexity, or even the unknown to temper your position. Steve S. - If you know the people personally, your best move is to leave these guys to tire themselves out with half-truths and go support your frends who i bet would love to hear from you. Everyone - We are all neighbors who all care about very similar things, but go about it in very different ways. Let's agree that the officers did their jobs well and the courts will sort out the details. These kids are NOT representative of our collective communities, but it should serve as a wake-up call for parents to know that bored children with access to money make bad decisions.
Allen Goodman August 17, 2012 at 10:03 PM
This post should be removed at once. Allegations like the one just made should not be allowed to stand here.
Steve S. August 17, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Fair enough, we have consoled the family we are closest with. I also feel that these forums allow us to get these issues out in public and despite a lot of the psycho babble, it's better to talk about it than not. I don't think the "access to money" part really makes a huge difference, I would think it would be: bored children make bad decisions, or something like that. The money part comes down to the consequences and the money helps for that i.e. lawyers and rehab.
Kennith Wilson August 21, 2012 at 03:14 AM
All u people need to get your head all of your asses they going to jail and it wasnt the parents fault it was theres it goes to show how pot bad is in all honesty I know josh Norris and he's a crack head, the kid has major problems his parents shelled all sorts of money and at least joes mother tried all you people from Deerfield have to realize it was there descion, and honestly u wouldn't give a fuck if it was on the Westside were have to do that when there starving maybe they will learn of they go to jail or drop them off on chicago and Pulaski it goes to school when you act like a nigger you get treated like one
STOPTHEBASHING August 22, 2012 at 09:46 PM
WHY? are all you PATHETIC people leaving comments. Concerned citizens? PLEASE. Nobody in HP or DF have exciting life. HP and DF is the mecca of drama and opinions. I am the closes person leaving a comment on this situation and if circumstance were different. I would have been in that home the morning of the robbery. To the teens who rob that home..YOUR LUCKY I WASNT THERE THAT MORNING, CAUSE IF I WAS, I WOULD HAVE ATTACK YOU AND GOTTEN YOUR GUN, HOG TIED YOU AND THEM CALLED THE COPS. or I would have gotten shot and YOU PATHETIC teens would have been up on murder or attempt murder charges. Believe me the people reading this comment. If you can figure out who this is. Know that I wouldn't back down from two pathetic teens with guns. I have to much PRIDE for that. I would rather be shot. Plus then the pathetic DF teens, would be big bubbas, GF in prison for at least 15-20 years.


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