14 years for man in Lombard burglary, identity theft scheme
A Westchester man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for stealing merchandise from Cook County stores and returning it for credit in Lombard.
Jason Hodges, 43, of the 700 block of Hull Avenue, was convicted by a DuPage County jury in May of four counts each of burglary and retail theft, two counts of identity theft and one count of theft.
Lombard police led the investigation into Hodges' illegal activity, which occurred between May 12 and June 5, 2014. Through the course of their investigation, police learned that on at least four occasions, Hodges purchased merchandise using stolen credit card information from four separate TJ Maxx/Marshalls stores in Cook County.
Prosecutors said Hodges would then return the stolen merchandise to the TJ Maxx/Marshalls store in Lombard and receive a credit on his own personal credit card. All of the purchases were under the $300 felony threshold, but prosecutors were able to charge the burglaries as felonies due to Hodges' extensive criminal background. Prosecutors estimated Hodges received more than $17,000 worth of credit from TJ Maxx/Marshalls.
"It is estimated that shoplifting costs United States retailers nearly $18 billion last year," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. "That astronomical amount of money not only causes a great hardship to retailers, but it is also passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices."
Hodges will be required to serve half his sentence before being eligible for parole. He will receive credit for time served in custody since the jury's guilty verdict on May 10.