Naperville Topgolf sees more gun, drug arrests over Easter weekend, police records show

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel, and Tom Jones WLS logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
More gun, drug arrests made at Naperville Topgolf over Easter weekend
In new video obtained by the I-Team of several arrests made last year, officers can be seen finding guns in parked cars while the vehicle's drivers are hitting golf balls inside the facility.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- The ABC 7 I-Team is learning of two new gun-related arrests at the Topgolf venue in west suburban Naperville during the Easter holiday weekend.

Since last summer, there have been 18 felony arrests in the golf range parking lot, according to Naperville police records obtained by the I-Team through a Freedom of Information request.

Guns were recovered in 14 of those arrests, and in nine cases, Naperville police also found drugs in parked vehicles, including ecstasy, crack cocaine, and heroin, records show.

DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin tells the I-Team that the two men arrested last Friday and Saturday nights are now being held behind bars without bond, as authorities try to crack down and figure out why the popular family attraction has become a criminal haven.

While on patrol last Friday, Naperville Police said they arrested 34-year-old Dijon Lane from Blue Island. Authorities say they were first alerted to Lane's vehicle after smelling marijuana, and while searching it, they found a loaded 40-caliber pistol hidden near the gas pedal.

Then, on Saturday night, 44-year-old Tavell Jackson of Maywood was arrested after officers say they spotted a 9mm pistol visible behind the passenger seat.

Police say Jackson also had more than 12 grams of crack cocaine in his jacket.

The I-Team obtained Jackson's Chicago Police records, revealing at least three arrests on drug charges the past two years, including one recent drug arrest this past February with a court arraignment scheduled for later this month.

The most recent arrests follow the ABC 7 I-Team's reporting that Naperville police have designated the Topgolf parking lot as a "high-crime area," according to police records.

In new video obtained by the I-Team of several arrests made last year, officers can be seen finding guns in parked cars while the vehicle's drivers are hitting golf balls inside the facility.

In all of the cases reviewed by the I-Team, Naperville officers noted in police reports that while patrolling the Topgolf parking lot, they could see guns or narcotics in plain-view from outside of the vehicle. That led officers to conduct surveillance, waiting for the vehicle's occupants to return, and then take them into custody while their vehicles were searched.

Berlin confirmed none of the arrests at Topgolf's parking lot have had any known connections.

"I'm not sure what the attraction is," State's Attorney Berlin told the I-Team. "Clearly, that facility is an attraction for felons with guns. We're not sure why they're going there."

In one arrest last September, captured on police body-camera video, Naperville officers are seen conducting a search of a vehicle during which they appear to find a designer Burberry bag filled with heroin, ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, cocaine and more than $2,300 in cash.

What led officers to search the vehicle was a purple Glock 42 they saw inside on the passenger side, seen in plain-view from outside, according to police records.

"These guns or these drugs are in plain view where the police can see them, and they're capturing all of this on their body camera video," Berlin told the I-Team. "I just think it's a lack of respect for the law. And unfortunately, we've seen more and more of that recently."

Topgolf in Naperville is right off of I-88, so if drug deals are behind the surge in criminal arrests there, easy access could have something to do with it, but authorities have said no drug sales have been observed in the cases so far.

No one has been shot or injured at Topgolf and on Monday Berlin said it "remains a safe place that people should feel safe going to."

A spokesperson for Topgolf told the I-Team that safety is their "number one priority," and that they have been working closely with Naperville police.

"These incidents are unrelated to Topgolf and no incidents related to these efforts have occurred within our venue," a spokesperson for the company told the I-Team. "We encourage anyone with specific questions on the arrests to reach out to the Naperville Police Department."