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Neighbors in West Town area unite to catch man suspected of package theft for years – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – Neighbors in a community on the edge of Humboldt Park and the Ukrainian village have banded together to arrest an accused thief.

The thief is suspected of having stolen packages from the neighborhood porches for years. CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek spoke to some of the neighbors who detained the man until police arrived on Monday.

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Several neighbors told me that a specific parcel thief had been working in the neighborhood for over two years. They see him often and caught him on surveillance cameras but, in fact, catching him was another thing. That was until last week.

“We had packages stolen by him,” Eric Berki said.

Berki has only lived for a month in the 2600 block of West Thomas Street, next to Rockwell Street. But already, he knows well the man he describes as “famous parcel thief”.

But seeing surveillance footage and warnings posted to neighborhood groups is one thing.

“Look out the window and see him – it was like a shock,” Berki said.

Outside his window, Berki found the real neighborhood Grinch on the floor, physically held down by tired neighbors until the police arrived.

“It was kind of a sense of accomplishment from my neighbors when I looked at them, because I know it’s been a problem for a while,” he said.

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Neighbors say it all started around 4 p.m. last Wednesday when they saw the man walking around the neighborhood with a trash can. They thought the trash can was full of items he had stolen.

A neighbor, who did not want to pass in front of the camera, said he “called him about it” and positioned himself between the alleged thief and the trash can. It was then that police said 49-year-old suspect Luis Ruiz pushed the neighbor but found himself on the ground.

Police arrested Ruiz and charged him with assault and battery. Although he is not currently under investigation for theft, police say he is a convicted felon with a criminal history of drugs and theft.

A public arrest record shows Ruiz has been charged with theft at least twice, dating back to 2019.

Another neighbor, David Sanchez, said the community’s actions send a fairly clear message to would-be package thieves.

“Stop doing it,” Sanchez said, “because you’re going to get caught. “

This is because on this block, the neighbors not only talk to each other but watch.

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“The neighbors have kind of an eye open on this,” Sanchez said. “So every time I look at my mailbox, as you’ve seen, they look at me. “


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