RIVERSIDE, Ill. (STMW) — When police arrived at Gregory Cook’s Cicero home Wednesday they found Christmas gifts wrapped under the Christmas tree.
There was a problem, they say: Those gifts included items Cook allegedly purchased from stores using stolen credit cards.
Riverside police conducted a 10-hour long stakeout of Cook’s home in the 5300 block of West 35th Street in Cicero Wednesday because he was suspected of purchasing items with credit cards he stole in residential burglaries in Riverside over the past two weeks, Riverside police said.
Cook, 42, allegedly did his shopping with the stolen credit cards at Home Depot stores in Broadview, Cicero and North Riverside and exchanged other stolen property for cash and items at Victoria’s Secret in Lombard, police said.
Police obtained video surveillance of Cook returning the stolen goods from a burglary in Riverside and purchasing other items, police said. This property, along with other stolen items, was recovered by Riverside Police.
Cook was taken into custody without incident at his Cicero home about 6 p.m. Wednesday. Some of the stolen property was wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree as gifts to be given to family and friends, police said. Also recovered was a stolen ceiling fan that he had installed in the bedroom of his home.
“This is the first time in my 27 years in law enforcement that I have come across a case in which a burglary suspect had stolen property from a home repackaged, rewrapped with the intent to deliver them as new Christmas gifts to family and friends,” Riverside police Chief Thomas Weitzel said.
Cook was charged with two counts of residential burglary.
Cook has eight prior convictions for burglary and is a self-admitted Hell Bound Biker Club gang member, police said. His last arrest, prior to the Riverside arrest, was by the Peoria Police Department in January of 2006.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)