North Aurora man charged in theft of Papa John’s pizza sign

Incident at Mill Creek Pool also resulted in assault, disorderly conduct charges

Derek R. Baston was charged with misdemeanor theft, assault and disorderly conduct.

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – A North Aurora man was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and theft after he allegedly followed a Papa John’s pizza delivery driver, yelled at him and stole the magnetic pizza sign from his car, according to police reports and court records.

Derek R. Baston, 47, of the 500 block of Cherrywood Drive, North Aurora, was charged on June 3, records show.

Deputies were called to the Geneva Park District’s Mill Creek Pool, 39W125 S. Mill Creek Drive, Blackberry Township about 7 p.m. to answer a report of road rage and the theft of a pizza delivery sign, valued at $75.

The delivery driver told deputies a black Chevrolet pickup – the driver later identified as Baston – began following him closely while on his delivery route, with Baston continually holding down his horn, according to reports.

Baston’s 2015 Chevrolet Silverado followed the pizza driver as he turned down various streets in the Mill Creek subdivision in Blackberry Township near Geneva, according to reports.

The pickup truck followed the pizza driver to the Mill Creek Pool, which was the delivery location for a child’s birthday party, according to reports.

Once he parked, Baston came out of his truck and “approached (the delivery driver) in an aggressive manner,” according to reports. “[The pizza driver] advised that he was scared and did not hear what Derek was saying as he continued to approaching … while aggressively pointing his finger in [the pizza driver’s] face.”

As Baston continued to approach, the pizza driver kept backing up until they were two feet apart and the pizza driver was afraid of being hit, according to reports.

The pizza driver separated himself from Baston to deliver the pizza to the party, according to reports.

It is believed that during this time, Baston removed the Papa John’s magnetic delivery sign from the driver’s car, according to reports.

The driver asked Baston for the sign back, according to reports.

“Derek stated no along with expletives directed at [the pizza driver],” according to reports.

By this time, witnesses called 911. Deputies arrived and found the pizza sign in the cabin of Baston’s pickup, according to the report.

The pizza driver said he wanted to sign complaints against Baston, according to reports.

Witnesses corroborated the pizza driver’s account. A nearby resident told deputies he saw a black pickup truck deliberately following the pizza delivery driver, according to reports.

Baston would not talk to deputies, but requested a supervisor. A sergeant arrived on scene, as requested, according to reports.

The sergeant tried to answer Baston’s questions, but Baston was “primarily focused on insulting responding officers,” according to reports.

Theft of the pizza sign is a Class A misdemeanor, is the most serious charge against Baston, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, if convicted.

The other two charges are Class C misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500, if convicted.

Baston posted $150 bail, or 10% of the $1,500 bond that was set.

His attorney, Gary Johnson, said he had no comment.

Baston has had similar charges filed against him, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge on Feb. 26, 2021, in a plea agreement in which he was sentenced to 12 months of supervision, 30 hours of community service and paid a fine of $544, court records show.

Baston pleaded guilty to an ordinance violation in Batavia for disorderly conduct on Sept. 27, 2016. He was sentenced to three months of supervision and paid a fine of $185, records show.