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posted: 11/4/2016 5:00 AM

Authorities say real estate agent stole jewelry from homes for sale

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  • Jamie B. Detwiler is accused of stealing jewelry from phony real estate showings in Palatine and Wheeling.

    Jamie B. Detwiler is accused of stealing jewelry from phony real estate showings in Palatine and Wheeling.
    Courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office

  • We encourage everyone to vote ... just don't take a selfie while doing it. Illinois is among the 18 states where publishing a marked ballot -- like posting a selfie of your ballot on Facebook or Instagram -- is a felony.

      We encourage everyone to vote ... just don't take a selfie while doing it. Illinois is among the 18 states where publishing a marked ballot -- like posting a selfie of your ballot on Facebook or Instagram -- is a felony.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, 2009

 

A DuPage County real estate agent has lost her managing broker's license -- and could lose much more -- amid allegations she used her access to homes for sale to steal jewelry from their owners.

Jamie B. Detwiler, 38, of Bloomingdale is facing residential burglary charges in Cook and DuPage counties. Authorities say she swiped jewelry during phony real estate showings in Palatine and Wheaton. And that might just be the beginning.

"There are other jurisdictions involved and possibly many more victims in those jurisdictions," Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Bill Murphy told us Wednesday.

The allegations

Documents from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation -- which has temporarily suspended Detwiler's license -- say she used her status as an agent to get lockbox codes for homes on the market.

State documents say she stole from five homes: in South Elgin, Glen Ellyn and Wheaton in January and in Palatine and Wheaton in October.

Murphy said Wheaton police got involved after hearing from a homeowner who said items were missing after a showing.

"The victim stated that the only people who had access to the home were (agents) who had access to the lockbox," he said.

Wheaton detectives followed Detwiler to a purported home showing in Palatine Oct. 7. When they confronted her as she left, she reached inside her bra, pulled out several pieces of jewelry and handed them to the investigators, according to the state's complaint.

She admitted taking belongings from other properties, and a pawnshop database search revealed she had pawned numerous pieces of jewelry over two months, agency documents state.

What's next?

Detwiler is charged criminally in only the Palatine and Wheaton cases and is free on bond. She is to appear today in DuPage County court and next week in Cook County court.

Her attorney, David M. Smith, told us Thursday she "is maintaining her innocence."

The state also could revoke her temporary license suspension. A hearing is set for Nov. 17 in Chicago.

An "I Voted" sticker is your best bet for a memento of your participation in next week's election. Posting a ballot selfie is criminal offense in Illinois, one that could carry a felony conviction and even time behind bars.
An "I Voted" sticker is your best bet for a memento of your participation in next week's election. Posting a ballot selfie is criminal offense in Illinois, one that could carry a felony conviction and even time behind bars. - Associated Press/2013
Stick with the sticker

Want fellow citizens to know you voted in Tuesday's election? It's best to put your cellphone away and be content with the "I voted" sticker handed out at polling places.

Under state law, it's a Class 4 felony to post a selfie with your ballot. Illinois is one of 18 states where posting ballot selfies is illegal, and a conviction could lead to maximum sentence of one to three years in prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been chipping away at that in suits nationwide, contending that such laws are outdated and an unconstitutional violation of free-speech rights. However, it lost its latest fight Tuesday, when a federal judge in California ruled it was too late to change the law in that state in time for this year's election. California law will change Jan. 1 to allow such photos.

Some other quirky election laws in Illinois: You aren't supposed to take more than 5 minutes to vote if people are waiting for a booth, and you can't vote in a state prison, but feel free to cast a ballot if locked up in county jail.

And lastly, we checked, and there is no law against drunken voting. (Insert presidential race quip here).

Season for job scams

The holidays are a great time to pick up a part-time or temporary job to make some extra cash to buy gifts for loved ones. After all, retailers are expected to hire nearly 700,000 seasonal workers in the weeks ahead.

It's also a great time for scammers looking to rip off jobseekers, warns the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois.

"Jobseekers should be skeptical of unsolicited job offers, especially mystery shopping or work-at-home schemes, which are almost always scams," said Steve J. Bernas, the organization's president and CEO. "Even sites like LinkedIn pose some threat."

Some tips from the BBB for job searchers: Start early, so you have time to research opportunities out there; try to land a job at a place you also frequent so you're familiar with the business and can take advantage of employee discounts; check out the company's BBB Business Review for free at ask.bbb.org; never give your credit card or checking account information to a business that promises employment.

Legitimate employers never charge fees to prospective employees.

• Got a tip? Have a question? Please email Charles Keeshan and Susan Sarkauskas at copsandcrime@dailyherald.com, or call our tip line at (847) 427-4483.

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