Three Cook County Men Charged with Ruse Residential Burglary in Naperville
(The following is a joint release from the Naperville Police Department and the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office.)
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Naperville Chief of Police Jason Arres announced today that three Cook County men have been accused of burglarizing an elderly couple’s residence home through a contaminated water ruse in Naperville. Lawrence Miller, 29 (d.o.b. 8/4/1993) of the 3400 block of S. Goebbert Road, Arlington Heights, Sam Mason, 26 (d.o.b. 7/3/1996) of the 500 block of S. Windsor Drive, Arlington Heights and Christopher Nicholas, 36 (d.o.b. 12/31/1986) of the 5600 block of N. Central, Chicago, each appeared at a bond hearing this morning where Judge Daniel Guerin set bond at $1 million with 10% to apply for Miller, $500,000 with10% to apply for Mason and at $100,000 with 10% to apply for Nicholas. All three men are charged with one count of Residential Burglary, a Class 1 Felony. In addition, Miller and Nicholas are charged with Misdemeanor Attempt Possession of Burglary Tools.
On April 10, 2023, at approximately 4:38 p.m., officers with the Naperville Police Department were dispatched to a residence on Waxwing Avenue for a report of a residential ruse burglary that had just occurred. Upon their arrival, officers spoke with the victims, an elderly couple in their seventies. It is alleged that the couple were sitting in their vehicle in front of their residence when they were approached by a man wearing a yellow safety vest, later identified as Miller. It is alleged that Miller told the couple that there was a problem with their water and that he was there to resolve the issue. It is further alleged that Miller convinced the man to allow him into the home to inspect the water in the kitchen and that after looking at the kitchen water, Miller convinced the man to go to the back of the residence so he could show him the utility boxes. It is alleged that when Miller took the man away from the residence, Miller’s accomplices entered the home and stole approximately $6,000 of jewelry. It is further alleged that while Miller was outside the residence with the victim, he was speaking to others on a two-way radio and that after a short time outside the residence, Miller and his accomplices fled the scene. Through the course of their investigation, Naperville officers identified Miller, Mason and Nicholas as suspects in the case. Naperville officers took the three men into custody later the same day at a Schaumburg pawn shop as they were attempting to sell multiple items of jewelry, some of which was identified as belonging to the victims.
“I want to caution homeowners throughout DuPage County to be on alert for this type of ruse, particularly as the weather gets nicer,” Berlin said. “Oftentimes, as alleged in this case, the perpetrators will tell the victim they are there in the interest of the victim, thereby reducing the victim’s suspicions. If you are approached by someone claiming to be from a utility company or service provider and have not received prior notification of their visit, trust your instincts. Whatever you do, do not let them into your home. Ask them where they are from and call the utility company or service provider for verification. I thank the Naperville Police Department and the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force for their outstanding work in the quick identification and apprehension of the defendants in this case and for their continued efforts in keeping our communities safe. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Helen Kapas and Alexis Gamboa and Connor Greene for their work in preparing a strong case against these three men.”
“This type of crime deprives people not only of their property but also their sense of security,” Arres said. “This department will continue to aggressively investigate such incidents and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. I would encourage the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods to this department, as we are all partners in keeping the City of Naperville safe. The officers and detectives involved in this investigation did a phenomenal job on this case. I'd like to thank them for their dedication as well as the North Regional Major Crimes Task Force for their collaboration on this investigation. Additionally, I would like to thank DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin and his office for their partnership in this matter.”
The next court appearance for Miller and Mason is scheduled for May 9, 2023, for arraignment in front of Judge Guerin. Nicholas’ next court appearance is scheduled for May 11, 2023, for arraignment in front of Judge Guerin.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.