Police: burglar wrapped stolen goods to give as Christmas gifts
BY JAMES SCALZITTI Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org December 21, 2012 12:00PM
Updated: January 23, 2013 6:07AM
When officers arrived at Gregory Cook’s home Wednesday, they found Christmas gifts wrapped under a festive tree.
The problem, police said, was that those presents included items the Cicero man purchased from stores using stolen credit cards.
Riverside police arrested Cook after they conducted a 10-hour long stakeout of Cook’s home in the 5300 block of West 35th Street. He was suspected of purchasing items with credit cards he stole in residential burglaries in Riverside over the past two weeks, authorities 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 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.
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.