Prosecutors: Arlington Heights intruders hoped to find $200,000 cash
A Tennessee man is being held without bail on murder and home invasion charges filed Tuesday in connection with an Arlington Heights break-in that left another man dead.
Prosecutors say Bradley J. Finnan, 39, of Chattanooga and the deceased Larry D. Brodacz, 58, of Buffalo Grove pushed their way into the home Saturday and threatened the family living there at gunpoint, in what police are calling a robbery attempt.
After his capture Sunday, Finnan told investigators Brodacz claimed to have seen $200,000 cash in boxes in the home 20 years ago and believed it was still there, according to Cook County prosecutors. The family did not know either man, police said.
Finnan and Brodacz were captured on a Ring doorbell security camera as they approached the two-story, single-family home on the 2400 block of North Evergreen Avenue at about 1:55 p.m. Saturday.
Authorities say Finnan carried a bag containing zip-ties and a blowtorch. Noticing the Ring camera, Brodacz told Finnan not to look at it. He rang the doorbell and when a male homeowner answered, he forced his way inside followed by Finnan, prosecutors said.
Yelling and commotion ensued, after which the male homeowner can be seen chasing Finnan out of the house and beating him. As he fled, Finnan's mask slipped, revealing his identity, prosecutors said.
The male homeowner later told police he opened the door expecting to greet landscapers. Instead, he said, the intruders pushed their way in and pulled guns from their pockets.
Seeing the intruders, the man's wife screamed, ran to an upstairs bedroom with the couple's children and closed the door. While her husband fought Finnan, Brodacz broke the bedroom door, pushed the children onto the bed and pointed his gun at the woman, who pleaded with him not to shoot, prosecutors said.
After fighting off Finnan, prosecutors said, the male homeowner returned inside and was retrieving a handgun from the home's master bedroom when he was struck in the back of the head.
A struggle followed, during which the man fired a shot at Brodacz but missed, prosecutors said. Brodacz and the male homeowner bit each other, then Brodacz took a knife from his waistband and approached the man who -- fearing for his life and his family -- fatally shot Brodacz in the stomach, prosecutors said.
Arlington Heights police arrived and entered the home as the male homeowner, bleeding from a head wound and carrying his gun, walked down from the second story and told them he had shot the offender, prosecutors say.
Police recovered two bullet cartridges, Brodacz's knife and his .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with seven rounds, authorities said. They also recovered the bag Finnan carried and other items.
At about 1 a.m. Sunday, Buffalo Grove police received a missing-person report about a man whose description matched that of Brodacz. After interviewing one of his family members, police identified him from his driver's license.
Video surveillance from a Crystal Lake Metra station showed Finnan driving Brodacz's car to the station and removing bags from the trunk at about 9:23 p.m. Saturday. Early Sunday, police located him at his mother's Rockford home.
He later told Arlington Heights police he knew Brodacz from a car dealership where they both worked.
Finnan is charged under a statute that allows defendants to be charged with murder if they take part in a felony offense that leads to another person's death, even if the defendant was not directly involved in the killing.
If convicted, Finnan could face a life sentence. He next appears in court on April 21.