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Car Burglars Caught, Charged With Multiple Burglaries

A Grayslake crime spree included six burglaries to motor vehicles, three burglaries to residences and four incidents of criminal damage to property.

Grayslake Police arrested a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old for a string of car burglaries. They entered unlocked cars in driveways, used the garage door openers to enter garages and steal items from the cars inside.

"We had a series of related incidents," said Interim Grayslake Police Chief Jack McKeever. "We had six burglaries to motor vehicles, three burglaries to residences and four incidents of criminal damage to property."

Most of the incidents took place on June 17 in the area south of Route 120, between Lake Street and Route 83, although some took place days earlier.

"In each one of the incidents, two suspects located an unlocked car in a driveway and then used the garage door openers to open the garage," McKeever said. "They took a couple of GPS devices from the cars, money and iPads. Sometimes they also took the garage door openers, mobile phones and any jewelry left in the car."

A lawn mower in one of the garages was vandalized, and the roof of a convertible was cut.

"In the end, there were two arrests made based on one resident in the area who heard a neighbor's car alarm sounding at 5 a.m.," McKeever said. "The man woke up, and then heard sounds in his own garage. He went down to investigate, and found a suspect in his car in his garage."

One suspect ran off, but was later apprehended. The homeowner called and stayed with the other suspect until police arrived. 

Matthew Connelley, 19, of Lincoln Avenue, Grayslake, was charged with burglaries to motor vehicles, burglaries to residences and criminal damage to property.

The 14-year-old was tranferred to Hulse Youth Center for detention based on a delinquency petition. Because he is a juvenile, his name is not released.

Residents On Edge

Patrick Wade, a resident of the Eastlake Farms subdivision in Grayslake, said his car was one of those burglarized.

"My car was open, (I forgot to lock it) and the thieves got in using the garage door opener on the visor of my car," said Wade. "They took a pack of smokes, 2 CDs, and used the garage door opener to open our garage."

He said the thieves took his wife's wallet out of the car in the garage, including cash and credit cards. He estimated damages at around $150.

Another resident, Jeff Skutnik, said his car was also burglarized from his home on Garfield Avenue. "The took a few items from my car," Skutnik said. "Police were searching up and down Garfield on Sunday the 17th."

McKeever said the thieves did not enter any of the homes, but instead searched for things in the cars or garages to steal or vandalize.

"My house was locked, but not the door going from the garage into the house," Wade said. "The thieves could have gotten into the house with no problem after getting into the garage." 

"The police handled the situation in a professional manner," he said.

He questioned how and when the stolen items would be returned, and why the burglaries had not appeared in the blotter. Because the thieves were caught on June 17, the incidents had not yet made the most recently released blotter covering the period from June 1 - 15.

Lessons Learned

"The people of Grayslake need to know what is going on in the Village of Grayslake," Wade said. He said he and his wife are very scared after this incident and are thinking of "forming a neighborhood watch group in the name of public safety."

Police have recovered some of the stolen goods, McKeever said. Other items were not recovered. He said efforts were being made to return the items to the owners, where possible, after being photographed for evidence.

"The big message is to not leave anything of value in your car," McKeever said. "Lock the doors, even in your own driveway. Don't leave anything valuable visible in the car. It's a lesson for all of us to be careful about what we do."

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