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Reports show some criminal minds not that mindful

Matthew J. Moracwas charged with productior possessicannabis plants manufacture or delivery cannabis possessicontrolled substance.

Matthew J. Moraca was charged with production or possession of cannabis plants, manufacture or delivery of cannabis, and possession of a controlled substance.

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:07AM

Earlier this month, 21-year-old Ryan Hukill made a rookie mistake when it comes to crime, according to police reports.

Hukill is accused of breaking into the apartment of a neighbor on Redtail Ridge in Elgin. The neighbor, as it turns out, is an Elgin police officer.

The cop came home for his dinner break, noticed a light on, a screen missing from his second floor unit, and Hukill inside. The officer caught Hukill as the burglar tried to run out of the building through the front door, authorities said.

Inspired by that report, The Courier-News culled its files from 2012 and asked some local police to provide further examples of instances of dunce-cap crime.

Nosey neighbors

In January, Elgin police arrested two men who may want to consider moving to Colorado or Washington once they resolve matters here.

Matthew J. Moraca was charged with production or possession of cannabis plants, manufacture or delivery of cannabis, and possession of a controlled substance, after police executed a warrant in the 200 block of Perry Street that allegedly uncovered a marijuana-growing operation in the basement of the single-family home.

A few days later, a warrant executed in the 300 block of Cassidy Lane uncovered another marijuana-growing operation in the basement of a single-family residence there, police said. Police arrested Robert D. Williams, 43, who was charged with production or possession of cannabis plants.

A press release said both arrests came as a result of neighborhood complaints about the smell of marijuana coming from the houses.

Jeepers peepers

In May, Elgin police charged Antonio Nevarez of the 600 block of Dover Court with four sex offenses after four peeping Tom incidents in Summerhill subdivision, near Elgin High School.

After his final exposure on April 30, according to police, officers found a cellphone that had been dropped by Nevarez as he ran away.

Dopey delivery

In June, Elgin police arrested a woman accused of having marijuana shipped to her through a national express delivery service.

Diana A. Leal, of the 300 block of Orange Street, was charged with a Class X felony count of manufacture or delivery of cannabis, as well as a felony count of possession of cannabis. She is accused of possessing 45 pounds of pot, with a wholesale value of about $48,000 and a street value of $102,000, police said.

An undercover officer posed as the delivery person and delivered the package — which was ultimately accepted by Leal, police said. After Leal took the package, a search warrant was executed at her residence, and she was taken into custody.

Marked man

In July, police charged Jesus K. Martinez, 22, of the 300 block of Orchard Street, Elgin, with a Class X felony count of armed robbery with a firearm, and a felony count of robbery.

According to police, officers responded to the area of State and Morgan streets on a report of a man having just been robbed at gunpoint. The offender was described as having a distinctive tattoo on his forehead and had run away. Responding officers heard the suspect’s description and located Martinez in an alley in the 200 block of Oak Street, just west of State Street. Evidence of the robbery, including cash and business checks belonging to the victim, were recovered on Martinez, police said, but no weapon was located.

While the above all happened last year, Elgin police have favorite stories about not-so-bright criminals of the past.

Blue burglar

Officer Bob Engelke recalled a burglar on the east side in October 2003 who tried to break into a home through a kitchen window.

“As he climbed he got positionally asphyxiated and trapped with his hands in the sink and rear end out the window. The lady went downstairs for breakfast and found a dead burglar,” Engelke said.

The deceased thief was identified as a 36-year-old Cary man who weighed 250 pounds.

Ride-along to jail

Sgt. Steve Bianchi and Detective Tom Wolek remembered a time in 1999 when a man had asked to go for a ride-along with police. During the drive, police ran the man’s name through their database and found out he was wanted on warrants. So they offered to give him a tour of the jail, which turned out to be his final stop for the night.

In a similar vein, Lt. Jeff Adam recalled that a few years ago, one man who applied to be a cop turned out to be a registered sex offender, and another was wanted on a warrant.

Wrong lot to burgle

While he couldn’t recall the date, Sgt. Ed Cummings remembered a time when a man broke into Cummings’ personal vehicle — which was parked in the police station lot while Cummings was working.

“He had just left the PD after being picked up for tampering with vehicles. I drove by and saw him breaking into my car,” Cummings said.

Familiar faces

Sgt. Colin Fleury and Officer Rick Demierre recalled being propositioned by a prostitute while they were in an unmarked squad car as members of the gang unit.

That might have been in April 1999, when police arrested Marni J. Wenck, who was charged with loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. According to reports, an officer was in the area of State and Chicago streets when Wenck flagged him down. The woman turned away when she recognized the officer, who placed her under arrest, the report stated.

Lt. Adam had a similar experience once with a drug dealer.

“A guy who sold dope to me was out on parole for three days, and then sold to me in the exact same spot. He was like, ‘You look familiar.’ And I said, ‘We used to get high together,’ and he’s like, ‘That’s right!’ Then he sells to me again.”

Resale slip-up

Carpentersville Police Cmdr. Timothy Bosshart recalled in December 2011 “the two guys from Carpentersville who were stealing things from Craigslist and then trying to resell them on Craigslist. They would find something on Craigslist, arrange a meeting, then grab the goods and run. They would then try to resell the items on Craigslist. One of our victims saw his stolen item on Craigslist and arranged a meeting with the sellers and had the police there at the meeting. The second suspect also happened to come to the same meeting. Both were arrested and charged with two counts of theft.”

According to reports those items included an $8,000 watch and a MacBook Pro laptop computer, which had tracking software installed in it. Jonathan D. Miller and Myshawn Bonds apparently would even use photos and information from the same ads for the items they stole to resell them, police said.

Criminal turnabout

According to Bosshart, “Several years ago we had a guy we’ll call Guy A who stole another’s identity (Guy B) for work and to buy a house.”

“Guy B had his identity stolen several times before because his dad, who left when he was a baby, was selling his personal information. Fed up with being a victim again, Guy B learned that Guy A had stolen his identity again,” Bosshart said.

But instead of calling the police, Guy B went online to learn everything he could about Guy A.

“Guy A had a house and a bank account in Guy B’s name. Guy B then went to that bank, presented his own ID, and emptied Guy A’s bank account. Guy B then went on a spending spree, spending thousands of dollars. When Guy A learned that his bank account had been drained, Guy A came to the PD to report that he was a victim of identity theft,” Bosshart said.

Detectives cracked the case, tracked down Guy B and brought him in for questioning. When they interviewed Guy B, he gave a full confession and produced all of the receipts for every dime he spent that belonged to Guy A.

“Guy B explained that he knew he would get caught, and he saved all receipts for the police, and he was just tired of being victimized repeatedly,” Bosshart said.

Both men were charged with identity theft, Bosshart said, and police asked for and received diversion form jail for Guy B through the First Offenders Program.

“Guy B fled back to Mexico after posting bond and hasn’t been seen since,” Bosshart said. “I assume he is back in the area using another identity.”

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