3 sentenced in bird theft ring

Three of four people charged in a suburban exotic bird theft ring have been sentenced in Kane County.

Rebecca F. Cozzi, 40, of the 6900 block of Fairmount Avenue, Downers Grove, and Alexander Kochno, 27, of the 1100 block of Woodcrest Drive, Downers Grove, recently pleaded guilty to felony retail theft from an incident last year at Bird is the Word, 30 S. Shumway Ave., Batavia, in exchange for dismissal of more felony theft charges stemming from a separate incident at Critters Pet Shop, 1437 W. Main St., St. Charles.

Cozzi and Kochno were sentenced to 100 hours community service, 18 months probation and ordered to stay away from both pet stores.

Kochno must pay a fine of $2,035 and Cozzi’s fine is $2,270, records show.

Cozzi was arrested with two others after a string of exotic bird thefts in Wheaton, Naperville and other suburbs in late August and early September 2010.

Authorities said the four would work together to distract pet store employees while the bird or birds were stolen.

Eric A. Zalkus, 31, of the 3700 block of Gunderson Avenue in Berwyn is due in Kane County court on Thursday. He also has another court date in Wheaton March 25.

Zalkus’ wife, Viviana Rossi-Zalkus, 28, pleaded guilty in Kane County on Oct. 15 and was sentenced to 23 months probation and 36 days in jail.

She also pleaded guilty Sept. 27 in DuPage County and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 24 months probation.

Another chance

A 20-year-old Elgin man got another chance last week to avoid prison.

Kane County Judge Allen Anderson could have sent Jonathan G. Gonzalez, of the 600 block of Raymond Street, to do hard time for violating his probation after being charged with domestic battery and driving on a suspended license in two separate incidents.

Gonzalez faced mandatory prison time after being charged with home invasion in October 2008 in the 100 block of College Street of Elgin and punching and shoving a male occupant there.

The charge was reduced to felony criminal trespass, which Gonzalez pleaded guilty to, and he was fined $1,260 and ordered to do 20 hours community service.

Anderson extended Gonzalez’ probation to December 2011, ordered him get his GED by then or face 180 days in the Kane County jail.

‘Ask A Lawyer Day’

The Kane County Bar Association will host its next “Ask A Lawyer Day” on Saturday, March 12. From 9 a.m. to noon, people can call (630) 762-1900 for a free consultation with a volunteer attorney.

If folks can’t call at that time, visit the Kane County Bar Association website at and press the “Find A Lawyer” tab to search for an attorney.