Reporting Dana Kozlov
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A state worker out on disability was behind bars this week, accused of being part of a burglary ring.
Illinois Department of Transportation employee Louis Capuzi, Jr. has had a busy month.
On Jan. 12, the 54-year-old heavy equipment operator went on unpaid disability leave. But last Friday, just two weeks later, Capuzi was one of four people busted as part of a burglary ring, DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said Monday.
The prosecutor says members of a suburban crime task force had been trailing Capuzi and three alleged accomplices.
Capuzi; 46-year-old Frank Obrochta; 37-year-old Richard Green and Brian David, 37, are charged with burglarizing two suburban homes — one near Itasca and one in Addison.
The victim in the Addison break-in says the crew got into her house by cutting wires to the phone and to a security system. Once inside, the burglars took cash, jewelry and other expensive items.
But Berlin, the prosecutor, says task force members were one step ahead and had followed the suspects to both homes. Police tailed them back to the Northwest Side of Chicago and arrested them.
Capuzi, a resident of the Ukrainian Village neighborhood, was being held at the DuPage County jail Monday.
It’s the second time the state worker has been charged with breaking into homes. In 1997, he was arrested as part of another burglary ring, but a conviction was overturned on appeal.
An IDOT spokesperson told CBS 2 the agency was conducting its own investigation into Capuzi’s arrest and could take action against the employee, pending the outcome.
Berlin says more charges could be pending and more people could be involved. Sources tell CBS 2 the burglary ring may have been operating for years.
Contributing: CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall