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Family of boy crushed during alleged theft files lawsuit

A family member of a boy who was crushed to death when police say he was stealing metal rods at an Alsip construction business has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed by Nilas Harden Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, claims the The Lombard Company and Lombard Architectural Precast Products Company were negligent in Harden’s death.

Dallas Harden, 16, was with two friends attempting to steal metal rods at The Lombard Company at 4245 W. 123rd St. on August 20, authorities said at the time.

The steel rods were “instrumental” in keeping 34,000-pound concrete and brick walls in place, and when Harden removed one or more of them, the walls fell, police said. Authorities found Harden, of the 4300 block of West Park Lane in Alsip, pinned and not breathing about 2:35 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The other boys, both 15, were charged with criminal trespass and released to their parents, police said.

The suit claims the walls collapsed on Harden “without warning,” and states the company had the duty of protecting children from dangerous conditions on its property. The company was also negligent in allowing “dangerous” walls on its property, failing to install fencing around the perimeter and not warning that the construction walls were “subject to collapsing,” the suit states.

Police said there is no fence around the yard, only “No trespassing” signs.

The four-count suit claims premises liability, negligent construction and wrongful death and seeks at least $200,000 in damages.

Harden’s attorney and the company could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday evening.