Prolific gym locker room thief busted in Lakeview, cops say

Hector Roman | Chicago Police Dept; Pexels

A man who police had been seeking in connection with a series of locker room break-ins at North Side gyms recently crossed paths with the wrong cops — while driving an allegedly stolen car.

Police were on patrol in the 500 block of West Belmont early on Sept. 7 when their squad car’s automated license plate reader activated. It had just scanned the license plate of a car that had been reported stolen in Des Plaines.

Cops pulled the vehicle over and asked the occupants to step out.

A routine name check revealed that the driver, 18-year-old Hector Roman of the Austin neighborhood, was wanted for allegedly breaking into fitness center lockers to steal valuables.

Prosecutors charged him with three felony counts of burglary for the gym allegations and criminal trespass to a vehicle. Police say he also had an arrest warrant out of Des Plaines for identity theft.

Roman is accused of burglarizing a locker at LA Fitness, 6107 North Broadway, on Oct. 12, 2018; and two lockers at Planet Fitness, 3636 North Broadway on May 12.

The keys to the allegedly stolen car that Roman was driving? Those were reported stolen from a gym locker.

Court records show that he went AWOL after being released on bail while awaiting trial for allegedly burglarizing a locker at LA Fitness, 1804 West Lawrence, on May 29.

This week, he was accused of three more burglaries in north suburban Skokie. All together, Roman is charged with seven burglaries and two counts of identity theft.

The passenger who was riding with Roman in the allegedly stolen car, 31-year-old Clarissa Gillespie, is also charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle.

Death at Belmont Harbor
Authorities have identified a man who was found dead in Belmont Harbor on Sept. 13. The body of Patrick Owens, 35, was pulled from the south end of the harbor by police divers around 5:30 p.m. So far, the medical examiner has not ruled on the cause or manner of Owens’ death.

Owens was well-known to North Side cops. He was frequently arrested for theft and other minor crimes. There’s a reason we mention that.

About eight hours before Owens’ body was discovered, police were called the south end of Belmont Harbor by a man who found a bag containing multiple cellular phones lying next to the water. The bag also contained Owens’ birth certificate and Social Security card.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com