A cable company employee posing as a service technician is one of two men charged in a home invasion in Wheeling, authorities said.
Police charged Nicholas Puccio, 23, a Comcast sales representative, and Kevin Summers, 32, with home invasion, a felony that carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison. Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie set bail at $100,000 for Puccio and at $200,000 for Summers during a hearing Friday.
Puccio, of the 1300 block of Cove Drive, is accused of using his knowledge as a cable company employee to gain entrance to the residence of the 23-year-old female victim Tuesday night, said Wheeling police.
The woman called Comcast Tuesday about a cable outage and scheduled an appointment with a service technician for Thursday, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Maria Mccarthy. Later that day, Puccio, who works as a sales representative in the Evanston office and is not a service technician, called the woman back, obtained her door code and scheduled a service appointment for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, even though "his job is not to go into homes to fix cable outages," McCarthy said.
The victim reported that Puccio arrived at her apartment wearing a Comcast shirt but carried no tools, McCarthy said. After fixing the woman's TV, he turned up the volume then left the apartment after, police say, he told her he had to check a utility box in the hallway.
Seconds later, Summers entered the apartment carrying a gun, said police. He grabbed the victim's hair and threatened her life, said McCarthy, then dragged her through the apartment demanding she turn over any valuables. Finding none, Summers fled and the woman called police, authorities said.
Police went to Summers' home in the 100 block of East Dundee Road in Wheeling, based on information prosecutors say Puccio gave authorities.
Authorities said they recovered a loaded gun from Summers' truck. Additionally the victim identified both Summers and Puccio as the men who entered her apartment, McCarthy said. They next appear in court on Sept. 21.
Puccio is an employee, confirmed Comcast spokeswoman Angelynne Amores in an email in which she stated, "Comcast is cooperating fully with law enforcement as they continue their investigation."
Wheeling Deputy Chief John Teevans encourages people to exercise vigilance when it comes to allowing service people and utility company employees into their homes.
"Play it safe, make sure someone else is home," Teevans said.
If that's not possible, call the utility company to verify the presence of a technician on the premises and don't let that person inside until you do, Teevans said, adding "unfortunately, in the day and age we live in, it's sometimes hard to trust people."