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Sheriff’s office busts Christmastime theft ring

DuPage County, IL

Caption
(clockwise from top left) Ian E. Drury, 24, of Wheaton; and Brian C. Evitt, 24, of Lisle; and David A. Mason, 24, and Joseph R. Belcher, 28, both homeless.

The DuPage County sheriff’s office has arrested four men who allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of electronic devices from Wal-Mart stores throughout the area and attempted to sell the items over the Internet.

Ian E. Drury, 24, of the 1900 block of Evergreen Ave., Wheaton; and Brian C. Evitt, 24, of the 4700 block of Saint Joseph Creek Road, Lisle; recruited 24-year-old David A. Mason and 28-year-old Joseph R. Belcher, both of whom are homeless, to go to Wal-Mart stores to steal specific merchandise, authorities said.

Possible prison time

Aggravated robbery: 4 to 15 years

Burglary: 3 to 7 years

Theft by a fire exit: 3 to 7 years

Conspiracy to commit burglary: 2 to 5 years

Theft: 2 to 5 years

Unlawful possession of a controlled substance: 1 to 3 years

Drury would specify items to be taken, which included televisions, DVD players, GPS units and computer equipment, and then would put the stolen items for sale on eBay or Craigslist, authorities said.

The thefts took place at stores in Villa Park, Glen Ellyn, Romeoville and Aurora, as well as others in Cook, LaSalle and Grundy counties.

“The DuPage County sheriff’s office has been vigilant during the holiday season to catch these types of predators,” Sheriff John Zaruba said in a written statement. “The investigation continues and additional charges and arrests are pending.”

The sheriff’s office became aware of the alleged theft ring while investigating the Nov. 30 armed robbery of a Mobile gas station near Glen Ellyn.

At about 10 p.m., a masked man entered the gas station, 22W070 Butterfield Road, armed with a handgun and stole about $300 dollars from the cash register, authorities said. Sheriff’s detectives conducted an investigation that led them Mason, who was arrested Dec. 4 at the Wheaton train station. He was charged with aggravated robbery in connection with the incident.

While conducting that investigation, the sheriff’s office received information that led them to the organized retail theft ring.

Detectives conducted surveillance Dec. 9 on Belcher and Evitt at a Wal-Mart store in Romeoville that led to the arrest of both men the following day.

A search warrant was executed at Drury’s residence that resulted in the recovery about $15,000 worth of stolen computers and electronic equipment, authorities said. He was arrested Friday.

Drury has been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary, felony theft and unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He is free after posting $10,000 bond.

Evitt has been charged with burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary. He is currently being held at the DuPage County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bail.

Belcher has been charged with burglary, theft by a fire exit and conspiracy to commit burglary. He is currently being held at the DuPage County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Both men are scheduled to return to court Jan. 5.

Mason has been charged with burglary theft by a fire exit and conspiracy to commit burglary. He was already in custody on the earlier charge, but his bail was set Tuesday at $600,000 for the new charges.

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