Notorious Florida shoplifter arrested in Lombard
A man called one of Florida's most notorious shoplifters now finds himself in DuPage County jail after, authorities allege, plying his trade in Lombard.
Ignatius "Michael" Pollara, 49, of Tamarac, Florida, is being held on $125,000 bail on a burglary charge, accused of stealing several paintbrushes late last week from a Lombard Hobby Lobby store, authorities said.
In Florida, Pollara is known as the "Toys R Us Kid" and the "Lego Bandit" after he was convicted in a 2012 burglary spree in which he stole more than $2 million in Lego sets and toys from the Toys R Us chain.
Officials said authorities in DuPage and Cook counties received information from Pollara's Florida parole officer that Pollara would be traveling here to visit family, so they were "keeping a watchful eye" on him.
Prosecutors say Pollara entered the Hobby Lobby store on Roosevelt Road just before 2 p.m. on Friday, July 3, and hid paintbrushes in his pants "near the small of his back." He was arrested as he attempted to leave the store.
Broward County officials said Pollara was accused in 2012 of using fraudulent rewards cards at 139 Toys R Us stores in 27 states,
On Aug. 8, 2012, one day before he was arrested and charged with several counts of grand theft, Broward sheriff's officials confirmed they watched him visit 21 stores in central Florida in less than 24 hours.
Pollara is currently in the middle of a 16-month probation sentence in Broward County after pleading no-contest to those charges.
"Every year, retail theft is responsible for millions of dollars in losses to businesses across the country," DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin said in a written statement. "These losses not only affect the business in lost sales and added security expenses, but also burden law enforcement, cost consumers more for goods and cost communities lost sales tax dollars."
Pollara's next court appearance is scheduled for July 27 in front of Judge Brian Telander.