Second obscene outburst earns Lego Bandit more jail time
Ignatius Pollara was just 12 days removed from serving a six-month sentence for criminal contempt of court on Oct. 20 when he lashed out at a DuPage prosecutor with an obsecenity-laced tirade.
On Friday, that latest outburst earned Pollara an additional 90 days in jail.
The Oct. 20 hearing was to determine whether surveillance information gathered as police trailed Pollara last July on what they called a two-day shoplifting spree in the suburbs will be allowed at Pollara's trial. But the hearing was abruptly concluded when Pollara lashed out at Assistant State's Attorney Shanti Kulkarni.
As the hearing resumed Friday, Judge Liam Brennan warned Pollara that any further outbursts would land him in a soundproof box for the remainder of the proceedings. Brennan then informed Pollara of his decision to hold him in criminal contempt of court.
"This conduct (on Oct. 20) impeded and interrupted these proceedings and it lessened the dignity of this court," Brennan told Pollara. "I'm sentencing you to 90 days on the contempt charge. It would have been six months, but not for your apology."
Both Brennan and Kulkarni acknowledged receiving letters of apology from Pollara on the night of his tirade.
Pollara apologized again in court Friday.
"I'm sorry, your honor, but I'm not a burglar and I don't like to be called certain names," Pollara said. "I'm under a lot of stress and I'm sorry."
Brennan also ruled Friday that prosecutors can admit certain video statements Pollara gave to police following his July 3, 2015, arrest and to Florida authorities in 2012.
During those interviews, prosecutors say, Pollara explained in great detail "how he made a business out of committing large-scale retail theft."
In Florida, Pollara is known as the "Toys 'R' Us Kid" and the "Lego Bandit." 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.
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 also stole items from several Oak Brook and Lombard area shopping centers last summer.
Judge Brian Telander ordered Pollara held in direct criminal contempt and then recused himself from the case in April.
That move followed an earlier outburst that saw Pollara cursing at Telander, making what Telander called "reprehensible comments" about the judge's family, and accusing Telander of improprieties before deputies forcibly led Pollara from the courtroom.
Pollara is next due in court on Nov. 14, at which time his trial date is expected to be set.