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Police Standoff Hoax In Oak Forest Cost More Than $50K

By Anna Deem in News on Apr 23, 2011 6:30PM

Photo by: mac3
On Thursday afternoon, Mark Fitch, 44, tricked Oak Forest police into an hours long, one-sided standoff after leading them to believe that he was holed up inside his home, on the 5500 block of Babbette Court in Oak Forest, when he had really been at a bar the entire time talking to police on his cell phone. Fitch was eventually arrested outside a nearby Beggars Pizza.

The standoff — which involved 100 police officers from 20 different communities — was estimated by city officials to cost taxpayers "much more" than $50,000. It started when a friend of Fitch's called police on Thursday at 4 p.m. and told them that Fitch might be armed and suicidal. Police responded to the call, shut down traffic along Central Avenue, and evacuated nearby homes. Fitch's actual location was revealed by a bartender, who overheard him talking on his cell phone, and recognized Fitch from the news on TV in the bar.

Neighbors described Fitch as "an odd neighbor who enjoy[ed] blowing up fireworks at random times," according to the Chicago Sun-Times. "At 10 o'clock at night, he'd blow off M-80s," one neighbor told the Sun-Times. "He'd blow them off, then drive away so the police never caught him."

On Friday, Fitch was undergoing a mental evaluation. He could face charges of disorderly conduct, and a possible legal battle with the city.