DuPage judge says search warrant valid in Lego Bandit arrest
A Florida man known in that state as the "Lego Bandit" for his theft of high-end Lego kits failed Monday to persuade a DuPage County judge to suppress the July 2015 search of a rental car that prosecutors say contained proceeds from a series of thefts committed in the suburbs.
Ignatius Pollara, 50, is being held on $125,000 bail, accused of stealing several paintbrushes and a box of pencils last July from a Lombard Hobby Lobby store. While that is the case that landed him behind bars, prosecutors say Pollara hit several Oak Brook and Lombard area shopping centers over several days last summer.
A search warrant executed on the SUV that Pollara rented contained several items Pollara is accused of swiping during his suburban spree.
Pollara's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Mark Lyon filed motions to have the evidence barred from any upcoming trial because the warrant was not valid.
While the warrant instructed officers to search the SUV for proceeds of a retail theft, it failed to also order the officers to seize the evidence.
Judge Liam Brennan, however, questioned how you can do one without the other.
"I don't know how you can properly search something without seizing it," Brennan said. "The intention is what was searched would ultimately be seized and returned to court."
The predictably vocal Pollara, who now comes to court in a spit mask and shackles after an April outburst against a previous judge hearing his case, again lashed out in court against the wishes and urging of Lyon.
"They stripped me down. They stole my suitcases. They stole my cellphones," Pollara yelled. "This is all such BS. I'm the victim here! I'm the victim here! I'm the victim here!"
Pollara will be back in court Aug. 16 when prosecutors are expected to argue a motion to allow details of Pollara's previous crimes to be heard during trial.
Broward County, Florida, officials said Pollara in 2012 used fraudulent rewards cards to steal more than $2 million worth of Lego sets from 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 was in the middle of a 16-month probation sentence in Broward County after pleading no-contest to those charges when he was arrested in Lombard last July.