Deputies recover stolen gun; city cops search for shooters, armed robbers

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD — A Machesney Park traffic stop turned into a much bigger bust as Winnebago County deputies recovered stolen firearms and marijuana.

Sheriff’s spokesmen say the incident unfolded Thursday, September  28, just after 1 a.m., in the area of North 2nd Street and Melbourne Avenue. That’s where deputies stopped a Dodge Neon occupied by three people. Police say during the stop, officers smelled cannabis in the vehicle and saw a passenger reach for a gun.

The passenger, identified as 18-year-old Tommy Melecio, of Rockford, was pulled out of the vehicle by deputies. Police say the gun Melecio reached for is a stolen .22 handgun. Melecio has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a concealed firearm, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a person under 21, possession of a stolen gun, and no FOID.

The driver, Adrian Peralta, 19, of Mount Morris, was also jailed on an array of alleged offenses. Peralta was charged with possession of a stolen gun, aggravated unlawful use of a firearm by a person 21, possession of an illegal firearm, possession of illegal ammunition, and no FOID. Police added a sixth charge—possession with the attempt to deliver between 300 and 500 grams of cannabis. Deputies recovered 238 grams of marijuana from the vehicle, police said.

A 17-year-old male was charged with obstructing and released to his parents.

Melecio has been released on bail while Peralta remains lodged in the Winnebago County Jail on a $40,000 bond.

Meanwhile, what appears to be a rash of recent shooting incidents in Rockford has continued. City police sources say investigators are on the lookout for a small blue car, possibly a Mazda, with its rear window shot out that they say was involved in a gunfire incident.

The incident occurred early Friday in the area Crosby and Adams streets. While details are unclear, occupants of a Jeep believed to have been involved in the shooting were later questioned and released. No charges have been filed as of this report.

There have also been no arrests in three recent Rockford armed robberies, the most recent Friday in the 2800 block of Echo Street. That’s where a woman was walking to visit a friend when she was approached by a suspect who held her at gunpoint and stole her purse and other belongings, police say.

The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s, 5-10, 200 pounds. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

A man who police say who held up employees at Rockford Dollar General was also wearing a hoody. That incident unfolded Thursday at 1405 Kishwaukee Street. The suspect walked into the store around 8 p.m., pulled out a handgun and demanded money from cashiers. Employees complied and the suspect fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. A surveillance camera captured in the incident. The suspect is described as black male in his 30s, between 5-7 and 6 feet tall. He wore a grey hoody, blue flannel shirt and blue jeans.

And RPD continues to search for a suspect in a robbery at Midwest Community Bank, 3963 N. Perryville Road. The suspect in that holdup is between 5-9 and 5-10 with a thin build. He had a scruffy beard and wearing glasses, a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, black pants, and black athletic shoes. The suspect approached a teller at the bank on Aug. 25, implied he was armed, and demanded cash. The suspect was between 35 and 45, and was driving a white Cadillac sedan.

These incidents come on the heels of Rockford’s latest inclusion on the FBI’s Most Dangerous Cities list. According to compiled statistics, Rockford, with more than With more than 971 violent crimes per 10,000 people, Rockford is the third most dangerous city with a population of more than 100,000 in the country, just behind behind Memphis and St. Louis. 

Anyone with information about recent crimes is urged to call the Rockford Police at 779-500-6551 or Crime Stoppers at 815-963-7867. R.

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