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Police: Burglar used Google Maps to case upscale suburban homes

Samuel Wats(left) Claude White

Samuel Watson (left) and Claude White

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Updated: November 11, 2011 4:10PM

Google Maps helped a Chicago man target as many as nine suburban homes for break-ins since March, police said.

Indian Head Park police arrested Samuel A. Watson, 33, at his South Side home Friday in connection with a July 18 burglary in Indian Head Park.

Watson was charged with the break-in after a resident of the home identified him in a lineup, Sgt. Curt Novak said.

The resident was asleep at home when Watson pried open a rear door and grabbed items before opening a bedroom door and coming face to face with the homeowner, police said.

Police said Watson confessed to officers how he selected the homes to burglarize.

“He said he Googled ‘expensive homes along highways,’ and Indian Head Park and Burr Ridge came up,” Novak said. “He used the satellite view on those homes where you can see 360 degrees.”

Police said Watson is a suspect in as many as eight break-ins since March in Indian Head Park and one at a Burr Ridge townhome.

The burglaries all happened between 8 and 10 p.m. Jewelry and electronics totaling about $100,000 were taken, Novak said.

Watson is also suspected as being the driver of an SUV that rammed a parked car while attempting to elude police in Indian Head Park on Sept. 21.

A passenger in the SUV, Claude L. White, 45, of Chicago, was arrested by Burr Ridge police and charged with burglarizing a townhouse minutes before. A jewelry box reported missing from the home was recovered in the SUV.

The driver of the SUV escaped, eluded police who were searching for him using, among other things, a police dog and a helicopter from the Cook County sheriff’s department, police said.

Police said Watson admitted he escaped capture by taking off his clothes and crossing a nearby creek before hiding in an unlocked van until the helicopter stopped circling.

White helped police track down Watson, and police later found a car stolen the night of the manhunt not far from Watson’s home, Novak said.

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