Inmate suing DuPage sheriff for 'flimflam charade'
When Ignatius Pollara politely declined to testify during his March trial on shoplifting and burglary charges, it was one of the few times he appeared speechless.
It now appears Pollara, 51, of Tamarac, Florida, was saving his thoughts on his burglary and retail theft convictions for a rambling, 22-page handwritten lawsuit he filed this week in DuPage County court.
In the lawsuit, which names Sheriff John Zaruba as the defendant, Pollara demands his immediate release from DuPage County jail "due to an illegal verdict of double enhancement of retail theft to an unconstitutional Class 2 felony of burglary."
Pollara also filed a 20-page motion, also without the assistance of an attorney, in which he makes many of the same arguments and demands a new trial.
Paul Darrah, spokesman for DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, said Thursday that their office "will vigorously defend the sheriff's office in the lawsuit brought by Mr. Pollara."
Pollara was on probation in Florida at the time of his 2015 arrest in DuPage and was alleged to have stolen more than $2 million worth of Lego products and video games during his shoplifting career.
His exploits earned him the nicknames of "The Lego Bandit" and the "Toys R Us Kid" in law enforcement circles.
His reputation also led to his probation officer alerting police that Pollara was arriving in Chicago days before he flew into O'Hare International Airport on July 2, 2015.
Once Pollara arrived, authorities say he rented a car and went to 21 stores in the Schaumburg and Oak Brook areas in 24 hours.
At his trial, police officials who formed a task force specifically to track Pollara testified how they tailed him in and out of many stores and placed a GPS device on his rented vehicle before he was arrested outside a Lombard Hobby Lobby with $80 worth of art pencils and paint brushes stuffed down the back of his pants.
Pollara has been held on $125,000 bail since his arrest July 3, 2015.
Throughout the case's history, Pollara has been cited three times for criminal contempt of court, often for profane courtroom outbursts. Most recently, he was cited after threatening a prosecution witness and calling her obscene names.
Throughout the lawsuit filed this week, Pollara compares the facts of his case to other inmates' cases and their sentences and says he's only being detained because of a "flimflam charade" and "speculation stack the deck charges" and an "ill-conceived trumped-up verdict of burglary."
Pollara is scheduled to be sentenced at 10 a.m. on his conviction for nine retail theft and burglary charges in DuPage.
Officials said it's likely Pollara will be transferred back to Florida at the conclusion of any sentence imposed in DuPage because he was on probation in that state when he committed the new offenses.
The lawsuit first will be heard at 9 a.m. June 26 in DuPage County court.