DuPage judge sentences 'Lego Bandit' to 5 years for theft, burglary
After nearly two years of raucous and occasionally profane court outbursts, which landed him in a soundproof booth again Friday, Ignatius Pollara told DuPage County Judge Liam Brennan he is ready to change his deceitful ways.
But Brennan said Pollara's "significant" criminal history indicates otherwise and sentenced the Florida man to five years in prison for multiple burglary and retail theft charges followed by an additional nine months in the DuPage jail for the two criminal contempt of court convictions.
Once he serves his sentence in those cases, prosecutors said Pollara has a warrant for his arrest waiting for him in Florida because he was on probation on a felony grand theft case when he was arrested in Lombard.
Pollara's exploits earned him the nicknames of "The Lego Bandit" and the "Toys R Us Kid" in law enforcement circles.
His reputation also led his probation officer to alert police that Pollara was arriving in Chicago days before he flew into O'Hare International Airport on July 2, 2015.
Once Pollara arrived, authorities said he rented a car and went to 21 stores in the Schaumburg and Oak Brook areas in 24 hours.
At his trial, police officers 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.
In total, officials said Pollara stole about $450 worth of items during the 24-hour period; the rest of his haul was recovered from his vehicle.
Assistant Public Defender Mark Lyon asked the judge to sentence Pollara to either probation or time served.
Assistant State's Attorney Shanti Kulkarni, however, sought a seven-year sentence, calling Pollara an "unrepentant burglar and thief" who boasts "considerably more ego than common sense."
"It's completely unreasonable to expect him to change his ways," Kulkarni said.
Pollara has been held on $125,000 bail since his arrest on July 3, 2015.