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Lansing businesses, police respond to vandals entering from neighboring towns

by Melanie Jongsma

(June 1 update: An earlier version of this story included Philips Chevy in the list of businesses impacted by vandals. It was later learned that one of the Napleton dealerships—not Phillips—sustained damage. We will provide more details as they are confirmed. For now we have removed the reference to Phillips below.)

LANSING, Ill. (May 31, 2020) – Sirens, CodeRED text alerts, cell phone videos, and social media commentary helped move the state from pandemic to pandemonium throughout Sunday afternoon and evening. What started out as a beautiful day to enjoy the easing of COVID-induced restrictions, gradually dissolved into confusion and mayhem.

Lansing was included in reports from Indiana of looting and shooting, though a careful reading of those articles reveals that most of the examples cited are from Calumet City, Munster, and other locations in Northwest Indiana.

Some Lansing businesses did suffer damage and loss. Detailed reports are not available at this time.

Verified information includes the following:

  • River Oaks Mall in Calumet City (which borders Lansing to the north) was closed after “organized bands within the protest groups” arrived to vandalize and loot the shops there, said Calumet City Mayor Michelle Qualkenbush. She released a statement urging Calumet City residents to stay inside and avoid the area in order to allow police to do their jobs.
  • Some vandals traveled south down Torrence and committed crimes in Lansing.
  • In response to the news about River Oaks, Walmart decided to close several locations, including Lansing. As Lansing police arrived, offenders were already exiting the store and leaving the scene in multiple vehicles.
  • Shops in The Landings strip mall were impacted, but specific information is not yet available about which stores or how many or what kind of damage was done.
  • As vandals continued south on Torrence, damage and/or theft occurred at the BP Amoco station (17002 Torrence), Boost Mobile (2398 172nd St), and Unitek (17111 Torrence) north of the expressway.
  • At 2:28pm, subscribers to the Village CodeRED system received this message: “Due to heightened police activity in Lansing (especially on Torrence Ave) and nearby towns, Lansing residents are asked to stay at home if at all possible.” The message was also shared on social media channels.
  • Stores in Lansing—along Ridge Road as well as Torrence Avenue—decided to close early.
  • South of the expressway, vandals reached the T-Mobile store (17640 Torrence).
    A broken window is boarded up at the T-Mobile store on Torrence Avenue. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
  • Both Lansing Walgreens (18133 Torrence and 3564 Ridge) suffered damage and losses.
    Lansing police officers block the entrance to Walgreens at Torrence and Ridge Road. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)
  • Peaceful protesters were seen in Lansing. A small group holding “Black Lives Matter” signs did not seem to have any connection to the looters.
  • Business owners along Ridge Road took steps to protect their shops.
    The windows of Santori’s Liquors on Ridge Road were boarded up on Sunday afternoon. (Photo: Ashlee De Wit)
    A van parked in front of La Rosita (3315 Ridge Road) helps protect agains unwanted entry. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
  • At 5:05pm, the Village CodeRed system sent this update: “The Torrence Ave. exit ramps are being closed until further notice. Police activity continues, especially on Torrence Avenue, from 178th St. northbound.”
  • One Lansing police officer was injured during an arrest. After being treated at Munster Community Hospital the officer was released.
  • An 8:39pm CodeRED message said, “As of 8:30 the acts of vandalism occurring earlier in Lansing have subsided. Lansing residents are strongly encouraged to stay inside their homes tonight.”

    A blockade at Torrence and 170th prevents traffic from going further north to the Landings. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

The above information is not a comprehensive account of Sunday events in Lansing and the surrounding region; only verified information that was provided by reliable sources or firsthand witnesses has been included in this list.

Updates will be published as confirmed reports become available.

Pastor Leroy Childress of Grace Church (2740 Indiana Avenue) published an invitation to fellow pastors and other members of the community who believe in the effectiveness of praying. Interested participants will meet in the Grace Church parking lot at 1:00pm Monday, June 1.

Family Matters Conference
Grace Church is located at 2740 Indiana Avenue in Lansing, next to the Lansing Public Library. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. Do you really think that it was the “sirens, CodeRED text alerts, cell phone videos, and social media commentary” that helped move the state from pandemic to pandemonium, or did they serve to protect and inform well-behaving citizens about it?

    • I believe some of this communication was intended to inform and protect, and some was shared instinctively, without a specific purpose. Since it’s not always clear which communications are accurate and well-intentioned, the result can be worry, overreaction, and confusion. That is why I used the word pandemonium.

    • They helped me to know what was going on and where to stay away from to be safe.
      I appreciate the heads up.

    • Many who were taking a break from social media and MSM had no idea this was going on. It was a necessary move to keep people from accidentally driving right into this mess, and also to be alert if they moved into nearby neighborhoods. If highway ramps are getting closed, we need to know why! I vote the latter half – protect and inform the well-behaved. I was coming back home from a day out of town – I was very happy to know in advance to exit the highway early.

  2. I am a resident and have been for two years now, yet I had not received any information or notifications to stay safe.

    I was wondering what the officials of the village were saying or doing to keep residents as well as businesses safe.

    • You can sign up with Lansing to receive notifications. They will do email, phone and/ or cell phone. Either contact the Village or the police department. It is very helpful. It also sends weather notices and neighborhood info.

  3. Thanks to the men @ Pelcher’s keeping watch and Tim and Billie on Torrence. Great damage control especially being adjacent to cal city and off the 94 ramp.

  4. GOD BLESS and protect our little village!?❣️ And GOD BLESS and protect our United States of America!? ?? AMEN ? ?✝️☦️☮️✌️?✌?

  5. Prayer is the most effective solution.
    These are primarily spiritual and moral problems. We will find that the solution is a change in heart.

    • That’s right, praying for salvation for all who don’t know that JESUS is the way, the truth, and the life.

  6. I am thankful for Lansing leadership response to this crisis. The Code Red system is very helpful.

  7. Make sure you are sign-up for CodeRed. We have had it for many years and it is informative for all seriousness from weather to a person who is missing. Thanks Lansing First Responders for putting your lives on the line for us. GOD BLESS YOU ?? ALL ?❣️ AND YOUR FAMILIES WHO HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT YOU. AMEN, AMEN.

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