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Villa Park chief aids in Naperville drug bust

Maximilian G. Salling 18 Montgomery faces trial felony drug charges following his recent arrest outside house Naperville. He was taken

Maximilian G. Salling, 18, of Montgomery, faces trial on felony drug charges following his recent arrest outside a house in Naperville. He was taken into custody with the help of homeowner Robert “Bob” Pavelchik Jr., who is Villa Park’s chief of police. | Courtesy of DuPage County Sheriff's office

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Updated: November 8, 2012 12:22PM

If it weren’t for bad luck, Maximilian G. Salling might not have any luck at all.

Naperville police have arrested the 18-year-old Montgomery resident three times in seven months on drug charges. His most recent run-in with the law occurred as he and a friend were allegedly smoking marijuana inside a red, 1999 Ford Escort they elected to park in front of a house on the 1400 block of Knoll Drive, in the city’s University Heights neighborhood.

The house in question is owned by Robert “Bob” Pavelchik Jr. And he just happens to be Villa Park’s chief of police.

“I’m coming down the street and I see these two guys in a car,” Pavelchik recalled on Friday. “I like to say I know most of my neighbors and friends, so I got out of my car with a flashlight in one hand and I said, ‘What are you guys doing?’”

“They’re blowing dope when I come home from work, right in front of my house,” Pavelchik said with more than a little indignation. “I smell the dope and I see the (smoking) pipe and the bag of dope on the floor, what we call in plain view.”

Pavelchik detained Salling and his friend until Naperville police arrived at the scene.

Police Sgt. Gregg Bell confirmed Pavelchik’s account of the Sept. 13 incident, which ended with Salling being arrested and his friend being released without charges. Bell said police also confiscated $635 in “suspected cash from the proceeds of drug sales.”

Pavelchik became Villa Park’s police chief in January. The village does not have a municipal employee residency requirement.

He served 33 years as chief of the Darien Police Department before retiring last year. A graduate of Benedictine University and the Adler School of Professional Psychology, Pavelchik also is an adjunct professor of criminal justice at the College of DuPage.

Salling has been held in DuPage County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail since being arrested. DuPage County Circuit Court records indicated he faces trial on charges of the manufacture or delivery of more than 10 but not more than 30 grams of marijuana, possession of more than 10 but not more than 30 grams of marijuana in a subsequent offense and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia.

He was arrested twice in February on misdemanor, marijuana-related charges, crimes for which he was fined and placed on supervision. Salling, with his most recent arrest, might be in violation of the conditions of those sentences.

Pavelchik downplayed his role in the incident. “This isn’t the first time I’ve had to be the police in my neighborhood,” he said.

He also had seven stern words of warning for miscreants and other ne’er-do-wells who might be on the prowl in University Heights.

“This is my neighborhood, pal, not yours.”

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