Woman arrested after allegedly breaking into homes, stealing butcher knife

EVANSTON — A couple of interactions between Evanston Police Department officers and an Evanston resident escalated from concerning, but lighthearted, to frightening last week, when an obviously delusional woman was arrested while trying to break into an occupied residence on Morse Lee Street.

Dawn Sylvia Plew, 41, was arrested on the morning of Thursday, May 7, when officers responded to a 911 call that she was trying to enter a residence armed with a knife.

Police officers first responded to a call about Plew on the evening of Wednesday, May 6, when dispatched to the area of O’Reilly Auto Parts on Front Street for a female waving her arms and talking to herself in the parking lot. According to a police report, when EPD Detective Scott Faddis arrived on scene he observed the woman, later determined to be Plew, waving her arms and talking to the trees.

After asking Plew if she was OK, she reportedly said she was watching a battle between heaven and hell taking place on top of the Wells Fargo building and said it was “sixes” as to who was winning the battle. Plew reportedly had a large amount of money in her hand, which she said was $180, and Faddis suggested she put it in her pocket before the wind blew it away.

At that point, Plew reportedly laughed and asked what $180 could buy and Faddis “informed Plew that $180 worth of beer could make Officer Brandon Nelson better looking.” Plew reportedly did not feel $180 “would be enough.”

Faddis offered Plew a ride home, which she declined, and the incident was closed.

However, EPD officers were again called the next morning when Meshelly Parrish called dispatch to report a woman trying to break into her home armed with a butcher knife. Multiple officers responded to the home, including Lt. Mike Vranish, who witnessed a woman, later determined to be Plew, holding a large silver butcher knife trying to force her way in through the front door.

Vranish reportedly repeatedly ordered Plew to drop the knife and step away from the door until she finally complied. Plew was reportedly mumbling incoherently during much of the exchange, although also repeatedly insisted she was trying to get into the home to get her baby back. Plew was subdued and taken into custody.

When interviewed by police, Parrish said she was in her living room when she observed Plew cutting and removing the screen on one of the porch windows and attempting to climb through it. Parrish said she yelled at Plew to get out and called the police. Parrish said she did not know Plew and had no idea why Plew kept yelling and insisting her baby was inside her home.

While on scene, officers were informed by construction crews in the area that Plew had also been observed at another residence across the street. Upon investigation at that address, officers discovered broken glass on windows and blood on the floor and front door, although no one was home at the time. Officers contacted the resident at that address, Jay Hansen, who came to the scene to view the damage and speak with police. Hansen reported a large butcher knife was missing from his kitchen and additionally reported a set of keys had been stolen and there was additional damage inside the home.

After her arrest, Plew was taken to Evanston Regional Hospital for medical clearance, where a drug toxicology screen was positive for methamphetamine and THC. She reportedly also had a small baggie of methamphetamine on her person.


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