More Charges For Alleged Serial Thief, Character Assassin
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A Lincoln Park neighborhood man already charged with cyber-terrorizing multiple people online is now facing new burglary charges – and police say the burglary rate in the district where he was operating is down 70 percent since his arrest.
Jicheng “Kevin” Liu, 32, of the 1700 block of West Altgeld Street, stands indicted on 12 new burglary charges. A judge set bond at $500,000 cash on the new charges, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.
He has been at the Cook County Jail for months already, on a $100,000 bond on previous offenses.
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Liu is suspected in thousands of thefts, including a pattern of stealing packages from people’s doorsteps and front porches in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Police previously said he grabbed some 500 packages from porches.
Authorities said Liu would also clean out victims’ garages, using about 70 garage door openers, many labeled with specific addresses.
Police raided Liu’s Lincoln Park neighborhood in March. Authorities found truckloads of high-end stolen goods at his home and inside five storage units, including more than 200 bicycles, up to 100 sets of golf clubs, more than 200 strollers, and even personal photos. Many officers said it was the biggest individual stash they’ve ever seen.
A stolen car title and a stolen check were also recovered, prosecutors said. The total value of all the stolen merchandise is estimated at more than $1 million.
Since Liu was arrested in March, the burglary rate in the Town Hall District – where he was active – is down 72 percent, prosecutors said.
Liu is also charged with using the Internet to try to destroy the reputations of everyone from former bosses to people who called the police on him, and even the actual officers who arrested him. Oftentimes, he didn’t even identify his targets correctly, prosecutors said.
In one instance, a man helped police apprehend Liu for stealing packages from his porch. Soon afterward, Liu began leaving a string of negative comments on the Web site for a business owned by one of the man’s relatives who has the same name. The man’s wife’s wedding planning business was also attacked on consumer review Web sites, where Liu called her a “thief” and the “wedding planner from hell,” prosecutors said.
Liu also launched cyber attacks on two police officers who arrested him. Prosecutors said he called one officer corrupt and abusive, and published reports said he posted on a Web site that the other officer had molested half a dozen children.
In another case, a couple who sold high-end products on eBay suspected that Liu was hawking stolen items, and moved to stop one of his eBay auctions. In response, Liu set up multiple fake accounts on eBay and flooded them with so many complaints that they all ended up getting shut down by the site. The comments cost the couple their entire business, and a Chicago Tribune report in April said Liu also texted them threats about their young child.
In a third case, Liu stole a stroller from a woman, and was arrested after the woman found the same model of stroller for sale in an online ad. The woman met with Liu and found that it was her stroller he was selling, with her children’s artwork in one of the pockets, prosecutors said.
Liu set out to go after the woman after being released on misdemeanor theft charges, but he did not identify the correct person, prosecutors said. Instead, he went after a different woman who works as a nurse and posted online comments accusing her of administering incorrect dosages of medicine to children and falling asleep at work, prosecutor said.
Online posts also accused the nurse’s husband, a realtor, of cheating a woman out of her home and sexually assaulting another woman during a real estate showing, prosecutors said.
In further addition, Liu posted ads purporting to be from prostitutes suggesting that they meet with clients at the couple’s house. Because of that, men started showing up at their front door in the middle of the night and waking up the woman and her husband, thinking they had appointments for sex, prosecutors said.
On March 26, the Town Hall District police station, 850 W. Addison St., looked more like a flea market as police displayed the items Liu allegedly stole, in an attempt to return them to their owners.
When police raided Liu’s home and storage locker, they found many items still had address labels that easily identified the owners. Prosecutors also found that Liu had wired $300,000 to Hong Kong shortly before his arrest.
Liu is a Chinese national, and was in the country illegally, prosecutors said.