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Man Who Pretended To Reopen Crocodile Admits Stealing Tattoo

By  Alisa Hauser and Erica Demarest | June 6, 2017 9:43am | Updated on June 6, 2017 5:12pm

 Christian DeBoer, 30, pleaded guilty Monday to not paying for this tattoo he received in January. He remains in jail on burglary charges.
Christian DeBoer, 30, pleaded guilty Monday to not paying for this tattoo he received in January. He remains in jail on burglary charges.
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Chicago Police Dept. (Mugshot); Brooke Englehart (Tattoo)

WICKER PARK — Christian DeBoer, who pretended to reopen a Wicker Park bar he did not own in the same week he skipped out on the bill for a tattoo, pleaded guilty to theft of the tattoo on Monday — almost six months after the incident.

"I'm excited and surprised. The attorneys and judge were all very helpful, and it seems very fair how this played out," said Brooke Englehart, a tattoo artist at Tatu Tattoo, 1745 W. North Ave., late Monday.

On Monday, DeBoer was ordered by Cook County Judge Robert D. Kuzas to pay $200 in restitution to Englehart for the tattoo. Kuzas sentenced DeBoer to 120 days in Cook County jail for the misdemeanor theft.

In jail since April 19 for a pending residential burglary felony case that is set to be heard before another judge next week, DeBoer was credited with serving 68 days in custody while awaiting trial.

Englehart filed a police report after she said she inked a straight razor with splattered blood on DeBoer's left forearm on Jan. 19 and he said he was going to the ATM to grab cash to pay for it — but never came back.

DeBoer's distinctive tattoo is visible in an Instagram video in which he calls himself "Ian Baker." At the time, DeBoer (still going by Baker) said he had taken control of the Crocodile at 1540 N. Milwaukee Ave. because its owner, Radek Hawryszcuk, was "indisposed."

DeBoer, of the 100 block of West Oak Street, was arrested at the bar in mid-February and charged with trespassing after Hawryszcuk contacted police and told them that DeBoer was asked to leave the business but refused. That case was dropped in March after the complaining witness, Hawryszcuk, never showed up to court.

DeBoer, now 30, has been in Cook County Jail since April 19, when he was charged in an unrelated residential burglary case and given $100,000 bail, court records show.

In that case, DeBoer is accused of breaking into a woman's home in the 2600 block of North Kildare Avenue on Jan. 24 "after making an unauthorized key," according to an arrest report. Police said DeBoer stole the woman's car keys, MasterCard and Ventra card — before driving away in her 2011 Ford Fiesta.

DeBoer then tried to use the MasterCard at Floyd's Pub, 1944 N. Oakley Ave., but the card had already been flagged as stolen, court records say.

Police found the 32-year-old victim's car the following day in the 7900 block of South California Avenue, police said. The Fiesta had "extensive damage" and was "rendered un-driveable," the arrest report said.

The victim and her father, 61, later met DeBoer at a Walgreens, where he returned the car keys, authorities said.

Cook County Judge Carol M. Howard last month reduced DeBoer's bail in that case to $30,000 — down from $100,000. Should DeBoer post bond, the judge said, he'll be subject to home confinement with an electronic-monitoring bracelet.

Court records list DeBoer's profession as "freelance music instructor."

Last weekend, Crocodile again reopened, with new advertising in its windows calling it "Chicago's best-kept secret."

Hawryszcuk did not return a request for comment about the reopening.

Crocodile got a new tavern license on Feb. 10 to replace the bar's expired incidental liquor license. Despite the new liquor license, the bar has been closed for several months.

Crocodile opened in 2008. Its previous incidental liquor license was reserved for restaurants in which primary sales come from food rather than alcohol. The city requires any establishment that has alcohol sales as its main source of business to have a tavern license.