Bedbugs routing EC prisoners to Lake County jail
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent January 30, 2013 5:06PM
Updated: March 2, 2013 11:45AM
EAST CHICAGO — A bedbug infestation in one of the city’s apartment complexes recently forced the East Chicago Police Department to reroute its inmates to Lake County Jail while it took care of the problem.
The department adminstration 10 days ago issued a list, obtained by the Post-Tribune, of unit numbers in the Harborside Apartment complex, at Guthrie and Alder Streets, to its officers indicating which apartments were infested. In all, 75 units were listed.
Lake County Jail Warden Willie Stewart Jr. confirmed that inmates had been brought to county from East Chicago. Stewart said he was told by Lt. Frank Maldonado that an officer who’d made an arrest at Harborside had been bitten and potentially brought bedbugs to the jail, so the department rerouted the inmates for booking while East Chicago brought in an exterminator.
“It was my understanding that there was nothing to do with the prisoners themselves,” Stewart said. “An officer had been bitten, so the department wanted to be proactive and exterminate while not exposing the inmates to that.”
Neither East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker nor Maldonado, its jail warden, returned calls for comment.
A representative from Harborside Apartments also didn’t return calls for comment.
Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown, parasitic insects with flattened backs and no hind wings that infest dwellings through a number of ways, most often through getting in clothing, purses or other luggage or through animals on which the bugs have laid eggs. They tend to congregate; are recognizable by a sweet, rotting smell; and cause blisters and rashes when they bite their hosts.