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Article posted: 3/25/2013 8:07 PM

Police: 'Smash and grab' burglar arrested

By Sara Hooker

A man suspected in Aurora's recent spate of "smash and grab" burglaries was arrested Friday after police say they saw him use a rock to break into an auto-parts store in St. Charles.

Mark E. Swienton, 39, of the 1300 block of Monomoy Street in Aurora, was charged with burglary and resisting arrest.

Using surveillance video from numerous burglaries at gas stations, liquor stores and other Aurora businesses in recent weeks, police say they were able to link an older model Chevrolet Prizm -- made distinct by body damage to the left rear and a missing right rear hubcap -- to Swienton. Aurora police were able to secure a court-ordered tracking device for the vehicle to monitor Swienton's travels.

Aurora police were following the vehicle about 10 p.m. Friday when they watched Swienton stop in front of NAPA Auto Parts Store on the 200 block of South Third Street, pick up a rock and throw it through the front window of the store, police said.

"It happened pretty quickly," said Paul McCurtain, St. Charles Police Department's public information officer. "They notified us, and we came over and assisted."

Authorities said they believe Swienton is responsible for numerous similar burglaries in the area, including another in St. Charles, one in Geneva and at least 12 in Aurora.

Aurora police previously estimated the total cost of damage and stolen property related to the "smash and grab" burglaries to be at least $26,500.

Swienton is out on parole after spending time in prison for a long list of offenses -- including numerous convictions for burglary, as well as a drug conviction and escaping from law enforcement officers. Swienton's burglary convictions date back to 1989.

Swienton resisted arrest Friday night, striking Aurora officers twice, police said. He was transported to Delnor Hospital for minor cuts and bruises, then taken to St. Charles Police Department to be booked and processed.

He's currently being held at Kane County jail on $130,000 bail. His next court appearance is April 3.

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