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updated: 8/8/2013 4:10 PM

Mount Prospect police make arrest in year-old theft

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  • Gerald Collins

    Gerald Collins

By Freida Gad

Police persistence paid off when Gerald J. Collins, 47, of the 1300 block of Floresta Vista, Crystal Lake, was arrested and charged in a theft that took place almost a year ago in Mount Prospect.

Mount Prospect police gave this account:

A Dell projector valued at $800 was taken from ITT technical institute, 1401 Feehanville Drive, in August 2012. It was discovered missing on Oct. 11, but there were no suspects.

An officer kept in contact with the college, and an official there phoned in January saying that someone was trying to get Dell to service the projector, which was still registered to ITT.

The officer contacted the Dell agent, who said she received an online request from a subject requesting service for the projector and asking that the warranty for the projector be transferred to his name. The officer tracked the owner through a database search.

The buyer said that he bought the projector online for $350 and picked it up at the seller's home in Crystal Lake. Realizing that Collins had lived in Crystal Lake when he worked for ITT, the officer focused on him, but the name and address of the seller was different.

EBay/PayPal Global Asset Protection provided the officer with information on transactions for the user name furnished by the buyer. The officer found the purchase was recorded on Feb. 5.

The officer ran the user name through a separate database and found the name and address. The officer had the new owner view a photographic lineup that included the seller's and Collins's photos. He identified the seller. The seller told the officer Collins was his friend and Collins had offered to sell him the projector.

On July 19, Collins admitted taking the projector, saying he hadn't been able to provide for his family despite having a master's degree, police said. He turned himself in July 24 on a charge of felony theft.

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