OAK FOREST, Ill. (STMW) — A Worth man has been charged with committing two recent ruse burglaries in Oak Forest, according to police.

The homes of elderly residents were burglarized by a man who distracted the homeowners while his partners ransacked the victims’ bedrooms and stole jewelry — talking to each other via two-way radio in a foreign language, police said.

They said the physical description of the lead offender was identical in both incidents. Working with the Illinois State Police Ruse Burglary Task Force, police identified Tommy Eli as the person who distracted the residents, police said.

On Dec. 10, the task force spotted Eli, who is on parole for residential burglary, in Chicago and arrested him in connection with the Oak Forest burglaries.

They said he was brought to the Oak Forest police station, where he was positively identified in a physical lineup as the offender in the two ruse burglaries and charged with two counts of residential burglary.

There are several crews of ruse burglars working in the Chicago area, where they watch for elderly individuals leaving banks, grocery stores or medical buildings and follow them home, according to the state task force. It said the burglars also drive around residential areas looking for homes with well-manicured lawns that are likely to be owned by seniors.

Most ruse burglaries take place during the day and almost always involve multiple offenders, who depend on the fact that most elderly people hide their valuables in their master bedroom, the task force said.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE