Evanston Police find stash of stolen property

February 21, 2008 4:48:52 PM PST
Property and cash has been recovered after it was stolen from homes in several North Shore communities. Police in Evanston say they've broken up a burglary ring that has been operating over the past several months.

Investigators believe the members of ring broke into homes in Evanston, Wilmette, Skokie and Morton Grove.

Police say they have recovered more than $150,000 worth of stolen property and goods.

Thursday afternoon, dozens of burglary victims stopped by the Evanston Police Department to reclaim some of that property. Some were lucky. Others did not find what they were looking for, but everyone is relieved that police think they have the burglars in custody.

The thieves took anything they could carry -- flat-screen TVs, digital cameras, computers, bottles of fine wine and liquor, dozens of expensive watches, guns and $52,000 in cash. The thieves hit more than 20 homes over the past few months.

Thursday, many of the burglary victims were escorted into a secure room at the Evanston Police Department to see if they could reclaim their property. Most of the stolen goods are replaceable, but some are not, including the sentimental items that once belonged to Danielle de Lipkao's father.

"His World War II Army hat and his eulogy, every love letter he wrote my mom, every love letter she wrote him. I had all that in a box along with a family tree going back to the 1100s," said de Lipkao.

A task force of officers from Evanston, Wilmette and Skokie have been working hard to catch the thieves. Their break in the case came when they executed a search warrant for drugs at a home on the 1900-block on Emerson in Evanston. Inside, police found the stolen goods.

Rengay Frazier, Andre Frazier and Allan Boyland are facing drugs and weapons charges. Police believe they are linked to the burglary ring.

"Once we can identify items taken from burglaries then we can start looking at charges from other suspects," said Cmdr. James Elliot, Evanston Police Dept.

Gerald Johnson is best friends with Rengay Frazier and lives down the street. He says Frazier is innocent.

"He's a good guy, basketball coach, loves kids, he's a good guy. SO YOU DON'T THINK HE LED SOME KIND OF BURGLARY RING? No, he works too hard," said Johnson.

Residents who were robbed are relieved the suspects have been caught. Richard Straka from Skokie found a digital camera that had been stolen.

"It's really a good feeling. The horrible feeling you have when they break in--this is a good feeling to know they got caught," said Straka.

Police believe more people are involved in the burglary ring and they expect to be making more arrests in the near future. The three suspects they have in custody are due back in court on February 26.

If you have been robbed recently and think your stuff may be in the possession Evanston Police, call your local police department. They'll set up a meeting with one of the detectives from Evanston and take you down to that room and you can see if you can get your stuff back.