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Cops: Smash-And-Grab Suspect Couldn’t Keep Track Of Burglaries

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ST. CHARLES, Ill. (STMW) – A 49-year-old Aurora man told investigators he couldn’t remember all the businesses he broke into because “he had committed so many burglaries.”

Police arrested Mark Swienton in March after a tipster, surveillance videos and a traffic stop helped investigators pin him down as a suspect in a string of smash-and-grab burglaries in Aurora and other Kane County towns. He is charged in at least 10 different burglaries that occurred through late March.

Swienton, who is on parole for a pair of 2004 cases from Kane and Cook counties, remains held in Kane County Jail on $410,000 bail. Swienton is scheduled to undergo a psychological evaluation, which his attorney requested during a recent hearing. Swienton returns to court in late June.

According to a search warrant affidavit, Swienton was seen kicking in the door to a gas station on Jericho Road on March 8. Police compared video of that incident to surveillance footage collected from several other businesses burglarized within a roughly 10-day span. While the suspect appeared to be the same person in each instance, police also identified an older model Geo Prism as the suspect’s vehicle.

On March 19, officers spotted the Prism, with a missing hubcap and noticeable passenger-side damage, parked on Victory Court near where Swienton lived. He got in the car and sped off, running a stop sign in the process, which prompted a traffic stop by Aurora police, the affidavit states. Officers found Swienton behind the wheel wearing a sweatshirt similar to the one worn by the suspect seen on the videos. He also had fresh cuts on his hands and a pack of Newport cigarettes. That encounter with police helped further identify Swienton as the burglary suspect and to secure a judge’s permission to put a GPS on the Prism so investigators could track the vehicle and Swienton, the document show.

The move paid off on March 22 when police tracked an erratically driving Swienton to the St. Charles area. After losing him for a few minutes, officers watched Swienton get out of his car and break a window at the Napa Auto Parts store on South Third Street, police said. He was arrested as he exited the building. Police soon learned that a Campton Hills salon and a St. Charles car wash had been broken into during the brief time police lost their surveillance of Swienton, court records state.

During an interview with police, Swienton “claimed that he had committed so many burglaries he could not remember specific locations,” according to the affidavit, which also noted Swienton said he wasn’t originally from the area and didn’t exactly know where he went to commit the burglaries. He eventually admitted to burglarizing some gas stations in Aurora and to being the person shown on surveillance footage at several businesses.

“I think I took cigarettes from that gas station,” Swienton said after being shown a photo of one of the burglarized locations, the affidavit states.

Police sought the warrant for Swienton’s phone to determine whether he had used it to search for potential targets or to provide directions to them. The affidavit also mentioned police learned Swienton had lost his job in late February or early March. Police said there were 11 burglaries in Aurora, where cash, cigarettes and even cash registers were taken, between March 8 and March 17.

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