By Patricia Bogumil
Lake County, Ill., law enforcement officials issued forgery arrest warrants Dec. 4 for Laurence P. Esser, 55, Union Grove, and Maximo Rodriguez, 57, Franksville, in an alleged scheme to drive off with a lot of free gasoline.
Esser, at least, should not be hard for authorities to pick up.
On Dec. 11 – the same day Southern Lakes Newspapers was emailed a news alert from Lake County officials – Esser was housed as an inmate in the Sturtevant Transitional Facility. His Milwaukee probation agent did not return a phone message left Tuesday seeking input about the warrants issues.
According to the media release from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office:
On Nov. 10, Esser and Rodriguez attempted to purchase gas from State Oil Company in unincorporated Grayslake, Ill.
Both met with the vice president of State Oil Company and asked State Oil to supply gas for Wisconsin gas stations that Esser and Rodriguez claimed to have recently purchased.
Esser and Rodriguez reportedly were reluctant to sign any purchase orders or contracts. They eventually agreed to do so.
Esser and Rodriguez provided a cashier’s check for $30,000 to State Oil Company. The cashier’s check was then discovered to be fraudulent after Esser and Rodriguez left.
The release advises that Esser and Rodriguez are believed to be in the State of Wisconsin and possibly driving a white van.
Esser’s bond amount is $50,000. Rodriguez’s bond amount is $25,000.
Anyone with information about the matter is asked to contact the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Warrants Division at (847) 377-4300.
Neither Esser nor Rodriguez are strangers to Racine County law enforcement.
• Esser went to jail Nov. 17 after an argument over a toolbox necessitated a visit from the Racine County SWAT team.
The incident occurred in the 2400 block of 65th Drive in the Town of Yorkville.
A Nov. 17 media release from the Racine County Sheriff’s Department said Esser was being held in the Racine County Jail that day for charges of obstruction, disorderly conduct and a probation hold.
State online records do not show charges were filed against Esser in that incident.
Days earlier, Esser had been due in Racine County Circuit Court for a Nov. 12 hearing on a misdemeanor charge of operating a commercial motor vehicle without a license, a ticket issued by the state patrol May 7.
But Esser failed to appear in court Nov. 12 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Esser’s attorney then appeared in court Nov. 30. Court records show Esser was in custody that day in the state Sturtevant Transitional Facility.
Esser’s attorney told the court that Esser had been in the hospital at the time of his Nov. 12 hearing. The court then stayed the bench warrant until Esser’s next court date of Jan. 29.
• On June 8, Rodriguez was ticketed by a Racine County sheriff’s deputy for operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance. He pled no contest to that charge July 19 and paid a $10 fine.
Warrants out in gas stealing scheme
By Patricia Bogumil