Burglar faces 6- to 30-years in prison for stealing Dr. Pepper, prosecutor say

A 58-year-old man with an extensive criminal background is facing a potential prison sentence of six- to 30 years for allegedly breaking into three North Side businesses over the weekend. But prosecutors say he got away with nothing more than a few cans of ice-cold Dr. Pepper.

Anibal Lopez | CPD

Anibal Lopez, who has seven previous burglary convictions, is charged with three felony counts of burglary for the break-ins. He qualifies for Class X felony sentencing based on his background, prosecutors said during a bond court hearing.

Around 12:20 a.m. Saturday, the front window of Bleach salon, 1816 West Belmont, shattered when a man tried to pry it open with a screwdriver. The burglar ransacked the shop but didn’t take anything. Prosecutors said “very good quality” surveillance video proves the burglar is Lopez.

And, a high-quality surveillance video allegedly shows Lopez using an object to pry open the front window of Pizzeria Serio, 1708 West Belmont, around the same time. After the pizza shop’s window shattered, Lopez walked in and searched the cash register, but he left without taking anything, according to prosecutors.

Finally, at 1:45 a.m., a witness called 911 after they saw a burglar smash the front glass door of  Snappy’s Shrimp, 1901 West Irving Park. The witness provided police with a description of the burglar, and cops arrested Lopez nearby. Officers saw him drinking a Dr. Pepper that prosecutors say he stole from Snappy’s.

Lopez had a bag that allegedly contained a screwdriver, gloves, and eight more cans of Snappy’s Dr. Pepper. The restaurant’s “high definition surveillance” system reportedly recorded Lopez committing the break-in.

Prosecutors said Lopez was discharged from parole on March 3 at the end of a six-year sentence he received for aggravated robbery. He has seven previous felony convictions, all for burglary, the state said.

Judge John Lyke reiterated the state’s position that Lopez’s background puts him in jeopardy of receiving a six- to 30-year prison sentence if he is convicted of burglary. Lyke set bail at $10,000. Lopez can get out of jail to await trial by posting a $1,000 deposit bond.

While each of his three burglary counts carries a potential 6- to 30-year sentence, prosecutors almost always drop duplicate counts during plea negotiations.

Update January 22, 2022: Lopez pleaded guilty to possession of burglary tools in exchange for a sentence of two years mental health probation from Judge Catherine Haberkorn. Prosecutors dropped the burglary charge in the plea deal.

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