Suspect in Libertyville burglary pleads not guilty

A Glenview man accused of distracting an 89-year-old Libertyville homeowner while another man stole her jewelry pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Lake County circuit court.

Peter Ely, 49, faces a mandatory prison sentence of between four and 15 years if convicted of residential burglary.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew DeMartini said Ely appeared at the victim’s door in the 100 block of Woodland Road around 3 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2011.

Ely told the homeowner he was there to search for a downed power line and walked to the back of the house with the woman.

As Ely kept the woman busy with questions and other conversation, DeMartini said, a second person — still unidentified — slipped into the house and went to a second-floor bedroom, took $5,000 worth of jewelry and left the house without being discovered, police said.

The woman discovered her jewelry had been stolen when she went to her bedroom after Ely had left and found it had been ransacked.

A neighbor described seeing a dark van in the victim’s driveway. Bloomingdale police suggested Libertyville detectives search for Ely because he was a suspect in a similar crime in that village where a dark van had been used.

After a systemwide alert was put out on police computer networks, Mount Prospect police arrested him Dec. 14.

The Libertyville victim identified Ely in a photograph. DeMartini said.

Ely is free after posting $25,000 for bond, and is due to appear in court again May 8.

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