High-Profile Realtor Charged With Stealing Ties

CHICAGO (STMW) – A president at a high-profile real estate firm is accused of shoplifting three ties from Michigan Avenue’s Bloomingdale’s on Black Friday, but his attorney said it was just a mistake because of the frenzy of holiday shopping.

A Bloomingdale’s security guard said he saw Michael J. Sato place two Burberry ties in his coat picket and one in his shopping bag, and proceed out of the second floor of the store at 900 N. Michigan, to the ground level, past the point of payment, according to court documents.

The ties were valued at $145 each.

Sato, 44, is charged with retail theft. He is a president of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, 425 W. North Ave., according to his defense attorney, Jon Erickson.

“Mr. Sato is a highly respected member of the community and he certainly did not intend to” take the ties, Erickson said. “It was just a mistake. It was busy. He had his kids with him. It was crowded.”

With the holiday shopping crush, it was a situation with “hands full; kids; loud,” Erickson said. “And, I don’t think he was outside the store [with the ties], either.”

Sato, of the 3500 block of North Janssen, is “one of . . . .Chicago’s top producing Realtors with over 400 million in career sales volume,” according to his company’s website.

When Sato appeared in court Saturday, Erickson told the Cook County judge his client has no criminal record, and that Sato graduated from Francis W. Parker School and Denison University.

Sato was released on his own recognizance and is to return to court next month.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2011. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

  • W. P.

    Yeah sure 400 million in sales, this guy wouldn’t look good in a twenty-dollar K-Mart tie or a forty-five dollar tie from Penney’s. One thing for sure, he shouldn’t have put the ties in his jacket pocket, draws too much attention from security and it wrinkles the fabric. Shopping for ties that cost a hundred and forty five dollars at Bloomingdale’s on Black Friday with hectic crowds, screaming kids and crowded cashier stations is no excuse not to pay. Not only that Blak Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and stores heighten their security for the season. Rich people aren’t the only ones shopping at Bloomindale’s !

    • Jim Hamilton

      Yeah right and look at the example he’s setting for his kids

  • Joel Sandler

    He knew what he was doing.LOL>

  • Jim Hamilton

    I bet his house is full of stolen items from houses he shows . Obviously a Kleptomaniac

  • Jim Hamilton

    LOL look at his face in the picture. He’s thinkin :(now santa clause won’t bring me anything for christmas


    Throw it away. Just throw it all away.

  • Tanya Livingstont

    This guy should be eligible for court diversion or deferred prosecution. If he attends Theft School and does eight hours of community service, the Sates Attprmeu will SOL or dismiss the charges. The sad thing is that these Burberry ties are availsable for $10-$20 bucks on Ebay.

  • Jinni Parker

    I don’t believe that he did not know not to put the ties in the bag! Busy or not all he had to do was to find a cashier and pay for the ties.

  • Totally disgusted in Old Town

    Are you kidding me, a mistake because of the holiday frenzy????? This so called 400 million dollar producer should have the book thrown at him!!!! If in fact he really sold that much he should have plenty of money to buy hundreds of Burberry ties. Wouldn’t it be funny if he was stealing the ties so he can give them to his business partners as Christmas gifts……He will probably say he needs to go to rehab because of this “condition” or was a side effect from some medicine he was taking. Anything to cover up or hide the fact he is a THEIF who obviously did not master the five finger discount.

    • David K

      Your clueless. Can I throw a book at you when the charges are dropped? Are you going to help untarnished this upstanding citizen when that happens

      • Totally disgusted in Old Town

        Go ahead…. throw away…. let me know if you have any specific books in mind…….You seem awfully defensive about this….. Do you happen to have a business relationship and are trying to spin this in a positive way??? If the surveillance tape does in fact show this did occur, will you still be banging on the drums from your high horse???????

      • Jim Hamilton

        Why should we untarnish him we didnt put the ties in his pocket

  • Taking inventory of my tie collection

    if its not intent, how did these items end up in a coat pocket or shopping bag??? the guy is 44, does mentioning the glory days of high school really make a difference?????

    What a BUTTERFINGERS!!!!!!!

    I wonder if the store surveillance tapes will be played at the company holiday party??????

    • David K

      How do you know they ended up in his coat? He doesn’t even have a coat on. Oh, the story says “coat”. And we know that the press is never wrong in their reports especially when a prominent businessman is involved.

      • Jim Hamilton

        Correction David K make that Doomed businessman and yeah I think you are guilty

  • Jim Hamilton

    They should just TIE him up and leave him hahaha

  • totally disgusted in Old Town

    If this alleged THEIF is convicted he better get more than a slap on the wrist. Maybe he can reflect on his actions in a jail cell with Tony Rezco and Blago……. Selling over 400 million sure makes for deep pockets……. Pockets deep enough for Burberry ties no doubt!!!

    Just think if he tried stealing Burberry ties in Saudi Arabia, his hands wold be cut off…… Just saying…….

  • David K

    Amazing that people are willing to comment and blemish the record of an incredibly honest and all around great person because of an alleged crime that actually never happened- unless it’s stealing if you move from 1 department to another. I have little kids and I’ve been in crowded stores. My number 1 concern isn’t keeping track of what department I’m in. He never put anything in his coat. Where’s the coat in the photo taken by the police? Looks like a sweater to me. So did he put the ties in his sweater? Or was it the bag. I’m confused. What’s not confusing is Mikes record of being incredibly well respected. The accusation of some over zealous rent a cop isn’t going to change the fact that Mike has served his community his entire life. Stop jumping to conclusions.

    • Hardly Harry

      Who’s been drinking the Michael Sato Kool-Aid now? The picture is a mug shot. The police make you remove your jacket so they can get an accurate depiction of the suspect’s body type for identification purposes. The whole incident was captured on the store’s video system so it wasn’t just “the accusation of some overzealous rent a cop.” He walked past 3 cash registers where he could have stopped to pay for his “purchase” but instead he kept the merchandise concealed and attempted to leave the store. The police had sufficient probable cause and made the arrest. Hopefully this clears up your confusion.
      All I know is I wouldn’t trust him to sell my house after the incident. Wonder how long it will take Jameson to kick him to the curb…


    Well stated Hardly Harry……. seems like someone is quite thirsty and has been drinking the Michael Sato Kool Aid by the gallon. I wonder if he prefers it on the rocks or straight up????

    I guess being caught on a store surveillance system, having a mug shot taken, and appearing before a JUDGE for an arraignment are all characteristics and traits of being an upstanding citizen.


    OHHHH NOOOOO…. SAY IT AIN’T SO……. This is like the Wynona Ryder shoplifting incident at Saks all over again….

  • pot



    I made a rhyme. yay. LOL.

  • Youdidit


    IS the offender. Do not listen to his posts trying to get himself off.

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