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Men accused of stealing $60,000 in toilet paper, plastic utensils

Juan J. Hernandez (left) William Chaban

Juan J. Hernandez (left) and William Chaban

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Updated: August 29, 2011 7:23PM

Police say a Will County warehouse worker partnered with an accused murderer to rip off $60,000 in toilet paper and plastic utensils from his employer.

Elwood police Cmdr. Patrick Kerr said Juan J. Hernandez and William Chaban stole truckloads of merchandise from the Georgia-Pacific facility in Elwood between February and April.

The investigation began May 18 when the company told police pallets of bath tissue and Dixie cutlery meant for big-box retailers were missing.

Kerr said police got a tip to look at local flea markets, and on June 4 found two vendors at Derald’s Flea Market in Joliet selling items stolen from Georgia-Pacific.

Officers seized about $1,000 in merchandise and learned it had been supplied by Hernandez, 25, an inventory control specialist at the warehouse, police said.

On July 20, police searched two units at a Joliet storage facility and found more than $10,000 in paper products and plastic cutlery, Kerr said.

Hernandez was arrested at his Joliet home on Aug. 23 and charged with theft. He remains jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.

Police also learned “an entire truckload of bath tissue” stolen from the facility and valued at more than $20,000 had been sold to Bailey’s Discount Center in North Judson, Ind. Kerr said five pallets of toilet paper and 10 trays of knives, forks and spoons were recovered.

Chaban, 35, of Lockport, made that sale while awaiting trial for the murder of his mother-in-law, police said.

On June 18, 2007, Chaban strangled Irene Opalinska in the bathtub of her Norwood Park home. Arrested two months later, Chaban was out on bond at the time of the warehouse thefts.

He was convicted of murder in June and sentenced to 45 years in prison. He’s now in the Stateville Correctional Center.

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