DuPage inmate still seeking laptop, 'Mr. Froggy'
The "Lego Bandit" is expected to learn his fate Friday as DuPage County prosecutors and his court-appointed attorney meet behind closed doors to hammer out a deal that could send him either back home to Florida or to an Illinois prison.
Ignatius "Michael" Pollara, 50, of Tamarac, Florida, is being held on $125,000 bail on a burglary charge, accused of stealing several paintbrushes and a box of pencils from a Lombard Hobby Lobby store last July. If convicted, he faces three to seven years in prison.
But during a Tuesday court hearing, Pollara continued to be more concerned with the location of his belongings, including some cellphones, a laptop, a suitcase full of clothing, and his "Mr. Froggy" plush doll.
Pollara also reconciled with Assistant Public Defender Mark Lyon, whom he had recently attempted to have removed from the case.
"We're hoping to have better relations," Pollara told Judge Brian Telander when asked if he now wanted Lyon to remain on his case.
Pollara frequently has expressed concerns about the location of items that police took as evidence in the wake of his arrest.
On Tuesday, Assistant State's Attorney Shanti Kulkarni presented Pollara's attorney with a list of items being held in evidence at the Oak Brook Police Department to help ease those fears.
But Pollara said he wants all the items returned -- especially a laptop computer that was not included on the list.
He said the laptop contains several "sentimental videos" of his mother.
"This is a violation of my due process," Pollara told Telander. "Where is my laptop? Where are my clothes? Where is Mr. Froggy? Those are the magic questions."
Prosecutors said many, if not all, the items are being stored as evidence tied to several charges against him.
In addition to the Hobby Lobby theft, police allege Pollara stole a frying pan from a Carson's store at Yorktown Center in Lombard and took kitchen items from a Crate and Barrel store in Oak Brook. He's also charged with shoplifting from an Office Depot in Lombard.
"In addition to the items listed, I did specifically inquire to the whereabouts of Mr. Froggy and I can confirm he is at the Oak Brook Police Department," Kulkarni said.
Pollara, who specifically demanded the toy frog be returned to him during a February hearing, said his concern and focus has now shifted to his laptop.
"I can get a new Mr. Froggy for 80 percent off at Hobby Lobby for $2 or $3," Pollara said.
"What a deal," Telander replied.
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.
Authorities say he used the proceeds of his thefts, which topped $1 million, to travel to exotic locations.
Telander, Kulkarni and Lyon will meet privately Wednesday to discuss a possible plea agreement in the case and Pollara will next appear in court Friday morning to hear what, if any, agreement was reached.