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Cicero Burglar Targeted Unlocked Cars For Pizza Money, Police Say

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 13, 2016 5:53PM

Dany Ortiz / Riverside Police Department

This city has a reputation as a town of pizza lovers, but one area man took his love to newfound extremes.

A Cicero man was arrested on Monday after allegedly burglarizing a car for money in order to buy pizza, according to Riverside police. Dany Ortiz told police he had canvased the Western suburbs for pizza joints to try, authorities said. "He said he loved pizza and wanted to try different kinds," Riverside Police Chief Tom Weitzel told Chicagoist.

"Mr. Ortiz actually went out and identified pizza restaurants in early May and then would come back and burglarize cars for the cash in the communities where he wanted to try the pizza," Weitzel said in a statement.

There had been a string of car burglaries in the Riverside area, police confirmed. But no force was used in the burglaries. Ortiz targeted cars in residential driveways, between the sleepy hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., and looked for unlocked doors. "If they were locked, he moved along," said Weitzel. Ortiz also passed up valuable electronics—including laptops, iPads and iPods. He just wanted or change for pizza. The average stolen amount per burglary was between $1-$5, police suspect.

"In my 31 years as an officer, it was the most bizarre statement and most bizarre burglary pattern I've seen," Weitzel told Chicagoist.

Detectives tracked Ortiz from license plate information given by a witness. When they arrived at Ortiz's residence, Ortiz was smoking cannabis on the porch and initially "didn't stop." Officers recognized him from surveillance video and took him in without incident.

According to Weitzel, Ortiz, who lived at home with family, did not seem to have any outward hardship. “He didn’t look destitute. He didn’t appear to have or claim any medical condition," he said. Ortiz had one prior arrest, for retail theft.

We gotta hand it the guy. If we were to be victims of theft, we wish the perpetrator is so courteous, with such a sympathetic motive. Hope you found some good slices, Ortiz. Oh, and please lock your doors, Riverside.

Ortiz faces one class-four felony count for burglary.