LAWYER CLAIMS POLICE USED SCOTT STEBIC’S ARREST TO PUT PRESSURE ON HIS BROTHER
September 27, 2007
By JANET LUNDQUIST Staff Writer
“I think that (Scott Stebic’s arrest) definitely was an attempt for them to continue to put pressure on Craig,” said Stebic’s attorney Dion Davi. “It’s evident that the Plainfield police are at a point of desperation, given their arrest of Scott and the current (police department) administrative shakeup that occurred.”
Police Chief Don Bennett said he believes investigators re-interviewed Scott Stebic about his brother and missing sister-in-law while the man was detained in Plainfield after his arrest.
“There’s no question that the Plainfield Police Department takes very seriously the disappearance of Lisa Stebic,” Bennett said. “We are utilizing all avenues to find her. If that involves re-interviewing Craig Stebic’s brother, then we certainly will do that, and have done that, and will continue to focus on this case and the person responsible for it.”
Steve Scheller, the Lake County state’s attorney’s chief of felony review, said he had no idea the Plainfield police were going after Scott Stebic. Warrants for Scott Stebic’s arrest came out of Lake County”No, I had no idea,” Scheller said. Scheller also was not familiar with the Lisa Stebic case.
He said the felonies facing Scott Stebic were for deceptive practices and driving under the influence.
The deceptive practices charge stemmed from Scott Stebic allegedly bouncing five checks totaling $312.37 in five days in July at a Highland Park White Hen.
Scott Stebic was arrested for driving under the influence Aug. 19, 2006, in Bannockburn. The same day as his drunken driving arrest, Stebic was picked up in Highland Park on a misdemeanor charge of trespass to a vehicle. The charge resulted from Stebic slipping into a tow truck and snatching the keys, said police Cmdr. Dave Schwarz.
Scheller could not say if it was connected to the DUI charge.
Scott Stebic resided in Lake County prior to moving in with his brother at his heavily scrutinized Red Star Drive home in Plainfield. Scheller did know what prompted Scott Stebic to head south, but did not believe Craig’s embattled brother was hiding out or on the run.
Last week rumors swirled that two of Plainfield’s top cops were off the force as Bennett declined to discuss the job status of Deputy Chief Mark Eiting and Patrol Cmdr. Mike Altenhoff.Altenhoff, one of the lead investigators on the Stebic case, officially resigned from the force Monday.
He said his decision was personal, to pursue a new career opportunity, and not related to the Stebic investigation.
“I wouldn’t have left if I thought for one moment the Stebic case would be in jeopardy,” Altenhoff said Wednesday. “The Plainfield investigators are the best; their hearts are in it, and I see good things happening.”
Altenhoff joined the department in 1996 as a patrol officer and moved up the ranks to detective, sergeant and finally patrol commander.
He said the Plainfield department was a good place to learn and “immensely helped my career path.”
“Mike certainly did good work for the department and had been involved in a lot over a span of time,” Bennett said. “We’re going to miss him and wish him well in his new endeavor.”
Deputy Chief Mark Eiting had not resigned from his job as of Wednesday, but sources close to the department say he has not been on the job. Bennett declined to comment on Eiting’s job status. Eiting has not been available for comment.
The Stebic investigation moved a step forward Wednesday, as police met with Will County prosecutors to review the case.Bennett said the state’s attorney’s office will contact police with a suggested next move.
Authorities want to interview the Stebic children, ages 11 and 12, about their mother’s disappearance. Aside from a preliminary interview, Craig Stebic has blocked police from talking to the kids per the advice of Davi, his lawyer.
In July, police named Craig Stebic a “person of interest” in his wife’s disappearance. Stebic has not been charged in connection with the case.
Davi said, despite reports of a possible grand jury investigation and subpoenas for the Stebic children, he has not received anything from the Will County State’s Attorney’s Office.