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updated: 7/11/2014 5:13 PM

Man charged with robbing South Barrington seniors

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A 58-year-old Hickory Hills man was ordered held on $500,000 bond Friday on charges that he burglarized two South Barrington homes late last year after conning his way inside.

Authorities say Leo Ely, of the 8200 block of 87th Street, gained entrance to the homes by telling the elderly owners they had electrical problems and offering to check their switches.

On Nov. 4, 2013, he told a 92-year-old homeowner that he was a member of the construction crew working on a house across the street and had noticed smoke coming from her walls and hot spots above her home, said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Gbenga Longe.

The woman let him in and he proceeded to check light switches, Longe said. In the garage, Ely told the woman he was going outside and she should count to 10 and shut off the lights, Longe said. After he left, the woman noticed jewelry missing and a door of a safe containing guns open, Longe said.

On Dec. 4, Longe said, a South Barrington couple in their 80s noticed Ely, who was wearing a safety vest and carrying testing equipment, at their front door. He told the homeowners he was from ComEd and that he had to check their wiring because a car struck a light pole nearby, Longe said. The homeowners let him in but became wary and asked him to leave, Longe said. At their front door, the homeowners saw two men walking from the door to their driveway, Longe said. Ely got into the car with the two men, she said. The homeowners later discovered jewelry and money missing.

Police took Ely into custody Tuesday. Authorities said his background includes burglary convictions in 2005 and 1987 from Michigan and Ohio. He also has a pending case in Maywood, Longe said.

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