A 25-year-old Gurnee man has been charged with four counts of burglary to a motor vehicle after he was caught stealing from unlocked cars for the past eight weeks, authorities said Thursday.
Harold Caesar, 25, and three male juveniles were arrested for their involvement in the theft ring, Antioch Police Chief Craig Somerville said.
Antioch detectives received a call on June 17 from a parent who said her 16-year-old son was in possession of stolen property, Somerville said.
Detectives started an investigation that revealed Caesar and the three juveniles were "car hopping" for approximately eight weeks in the middle of the night in neighborhoods throughout Lake County, he said.
Somerville said "car hopping" is a common term used to describe how the offenders would walk through subdivisions after dark and check cars for unlocked doors. When they would find an unlocked vehicle, they would enter and take any items of value that can easily be removed and stolen.
Detectives recovered 133 items stolen from Antioch residents' vehicles, including I-Pods, sun glasses, laptop computers, watches, GPS units, loose change and cash.
The arrests closed 20 cases in the village, Somerville said, and assisted departments in Lake Villa, Lindenhurst, Round Lake Beach, Kenosha County, Lake County, and Lake Forest in solving similar cases.
The three juveniles received multiple charges, but each of the minors was referred to the Lake County Juvenile Court System.
Caesar is in Lake County jail on a $50,000 cash bond, of which he must post 10 percent. He is due in court Aug. 25, Somerville said.
If found guilty, Caesar could be punished up to seven years behind bars.