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A Mokena man was charged with retail theft June 2 at 20005 S. Wolf Road in Mokena after attempting to steal a 750 mL bottle of vodka and conceal the bottle in the front of his pants.

David Bachar, 33, of 9403 W. Ash Ave., in Mokena, was charged after a complainant observed the suspect try to conceal the bottle and then attempt to proceed passed the last point of sale before being detained, police said. Police were then called and the subject was charged with retail theft.

May 29

Danny Ciamprone

The call of the wild beats in us all. 

For some, it is a subtle tapping that is satisfied after a hike through the woods. For others, the drumming is constant enough to compel daily outdoor activity. And then there are still others, like Mokena native Jill Castiglia, who cannot ignore the thunderous internal beat. 

That call forces action.

Danny Ciamprone

Two Mokena men were charged with retail theft Aug. 31 after police initiated a search warrant in regard to alleged theft involving the Village of Mokena’s water supply.

Rory Cook, 45, of 19521 Blyth Way, in Mokena, and Robert Cook, 66, of 20018 Pinegrove Drive, in Mokena, were charged with retail theft at their respective residencies after police reportedly initiated a search warrant.

Danny Ciamprone

After more than three decades of operating Mr. Benny’s Steak and Lobster House at its Matteson location, the Leonardo family has decided to close its doors and focus solely on the Mokena restaurant.

“It’s time for me to hang up my spurs,” said Benny Leonardo, co-owner of both full service restaurants in the southwest suburbs.

Leonardo has been in the restaurant business for almost 50 years total, having operated the Matteson location for 38 years before opening the restaurant in Mokena, located at 19200 Everett Lane.

Danny Ciamprone

A 30-year-old Manhattan man who allegedly had sexual relations with a 16-year-old Mokena girl was apprehended by Mokena police Aug. 14 and transported to Will County Jail.

Ryan C. Benck, of 24644 Route 52, in Manhattan, was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child at his residence after the teen’s parents notified the Mokena Police Department, said Mokena police chief Steven Vaccaro.

Vaccaro said the suspect allegedly met the girl through an “app.” 

Danny Ciamprone

Five years ago, Chris Pignotti’s son wanted to get involved with lacrosse, specifically, the Lincoln-Way Lacrosse Club youth team.

Wanting to help out, Pignotti started coaching in a league that at the time did not have a youth program for children under the age of 11, as the game was still gaining traction in popularity.

Danny Ciamprone


Lauren Katherine Carollo, 17, of Mokena, died suddenly May 22. She was the daughter of Randy and Ginger Lee (nee Lyons) Carollo; granddaughter of Dolly and step-granddaughter of Beverly; and niece of Kathy (Kenny) Schwartz, Peggy Beke, Peter, Bobby (Lisa), David (Ronda) and Johnny (Lynn) Carollo, Dawn (Bill) Morrison, Tammy (Paul) Litchenberg and Thomas and Frank Lyons. She had 14 cousins. Services were held at Vandenberg Funeral Home. Interment private.


Since finishing high school, a group of Mokena and Frankfort natives have gone on to excel at Olivet Nazarene University both on and off the softball diamond.

Cheryl Sendzik, Caitlin Santefort, Hannah Gardner and Megan Butler all made big contributions to the Tigers’ 49-5-1 season, conference championship and NAIA World Series appearance, said longtime Olivet Coach Ritchie Richardson.

“The year itself has been fantastic, and these girls are a big reason why,” he said. 

Rebecca Susmarski

Two men were both charged with possession of a controlled substance, sale or possession of hypodermic syringes or needles and possession of drug equipment July 20 at 19137 S. Wolf Road, in Mokena, after police responded to reports of subjects acting suspiciously.

Danny Ciamprone

Tired, unoccupied and under utilized, it was growing more unlikely each day that the Therafin building in Mokena would see a proper use in the near future.

“It was almost to the point where [the building] had fallen into a state of disrepair and was also just so old and tired that in a lot of cases it didn’t meet the proper codes for certain uses,” said Mokena Village Administrator John Downs.

Danny Ciamprone