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Package Thief Nabbed In UK Village After Victim Tips Police, Officials Say

By Alisa Hauser | March 27, 2017 9:27am | Updated on March 27, 2017 5:06pm
 Cruz Cortez mugshot.
Cruz Cortez mugshot.
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Chicago Police Dept

UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — A 33-year-old man was arrested over the weekend after a victim spotted the thief nabbing packages from a building and photographed the license plate on his car, police and residents said.

Cruz Cortez, of the 1800 block of West Haddon Avenue, was charged with felony burglary on Saturday, according to Officer Veejay Zala, a Chicago Police spokesman.

Cortez is currently being held in Cook County Jail with bail set at $30,000, according to the Cook County Sheriff's office.

He is scheduled to appear in court this Friday, court records show.

Cruz's charges are related to a March 13 burglary that happened at approximately 1:50 p.m., Zala said.

That afternoon, a member of the Bucktown neighborhood watch Facebook page published the license plate of Cruz's car, which was forwarded to police by another resident after Cortez was allegedly spotted breaking into a residential building in the 1500 block of North Artesion Avenue in East Humboldt Park.

"A Hispanic male in an older Dodge Durango with license plate ... just broke into our building on 1500 block of Artesian to steal packages," a resident posted.

Officers in the Shakespeare District (14th) put out an investigative alert, and then officers in the neighboring Near West District (12th) made the arrest on Saturday, according to police sources.

Due to prior theft charges, Cruz's recent charge was upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony, police sources said, although more details were not immediately available.

Steve Jensen, president of the Bucktown Community Organization, a neighborhood group, described Cruz's arrest as "one small victory."

"Today as a community we'll enjoy one small victory that this alleged career-burglar is off the streets and hopefully incarcerated soon. Our efforts to get neighbors to know one another and participate in our neighborhood watch group are finally paying off. Thanks also goes out to CPD & Lt. Giambrone for coordinating the arrest," Jensen said in a statement.

Meanwhile, on Monday, a woman who lives in the 2000 block of West Potomac Street in Wicker Park said an arrest was made over the weekend in a package theft at her home last week that appeared similar to the other incident. Police could not immediately say whether the thefts were linked.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that her neighbor's surveillance video caught a man stealing two packages off her porch on March 20.

In the video, a man jumps out of a silver Dodge, looks around, then heads up the stairs on her porch. He can be seen hustling back to the backseat of the car with something under his arm. The woman filed a police report.

"Chicago police, and specifically the detective who followed up on my police report, were really great. It was satisfying to know that they were making an arrest for whom they believed was responsible for stealing my packages," she said.

Taken in the heist: About $125 worth of items ordered from Amazon, including dry shampoo, glass cleaner and nutrition bars, the victim said.