COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — One of the teens accused of brutally beating a 77-year-old Lakeview woman earlier this month had burglarized two nearby homes in the weeks leading up to the attack, prosecutors said Thursday.
In the first incident, Eli Ruff, 18, broke into a 33-year-old man's home on Dec. 22 — and snapped photos of himself wearing the victim's clothing, smoking weed and flashing gang signs, prosecutors said.
On Jan. 1, Ruff stole several laptops from a different apartment on the same street and later sold them — only to have the victim realize the computers were stolen goods and hand them over to police, prosecutors said.
Ruff first made headlines last week after he and two accomplices were charged with viciously attacking a 77-year-old woman inside her home in the 3600 block of North Magnolia Avenue about 5 a.m. on Jan. 9.
The trio allegedly beat the victim whenever she called for help during a 45-minute home invasion that netted the burglars jewelry, coins, a TV and the victim's Honda Accord. The woman suffered broken bones and bleeding to her brain, prosecutors said, and police captured the three after Ruff fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed the victim's car.
A Cook County judge ordered Ruff, as well as Tracie Towbridge and Lilearl Taylor, both 19, held in lieu of $2 million bail on Jan. 11.
Ruff was back in bond court Thursday on two new burglary charges. Both cases happened in the 3700 block of North Lakewood Avenue — less than two blocks from where the elderly woman was attacked.
According to prosecutors, Ruff and an accomplice broke into a 33-year-old man's home through an unlocked window on Dec. 22.
They stole tablets, clothing, a watch and a cellphone, among other items, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto said during a bond hearing Thursday. That's when Ruff snapped photos in the victim's duds.
The victim, a software developer, saw the pictures on his Google account after Ruff began using the man's SIM card, according to an arrest report.
The second burglary happened on Jan. 1, Scaduto said. Ruff and an accomplice broke into a woman's apartment and stole laptops and a tablet, Scaduto said.
After the pair pawned the computers, prosecutors said, the buyer turned them over to the suburban Westmont police department. It's not clear how the buyer learned the items were stolen.
According to prosecutors, the victims from the Dec. 22 and Jan. 1 incidents were able to identify Ruff in a photo array. He was subsequently charged with burglary and theft.
At the time of the incidents, Ruff was on juvenile parole for robbery, Scaduto said. He also has a pending misdemeanor case for criminal trespass in the 3600 block of North Janssen Avenue.
Cook County Judge Laura Sullivan on Thursday ordered Ruff held in lieu of $500,000 bail. That's in addition to the $2 million bail for the pending home invasion case. In all, Ruff would need $250,000 to post bond.
Sullivan also ordered Ruff's fingerprints taken.
Ruff's public defender said Ruff, of the 7300 block of South Damen Avenue, attends Excel Academy.
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