Career burglar busted by Lakeview neighborhood watch group

Miguel Sanchez (left) and some of the surveillance images that led to his latest arrest. | CPD; BARR Neighbors Association

A career burglar met his match this week when a Lakeview neighborhood watch group helped police track him down, according to prosecutors.

It all started on August 27 when a homeowner discovered that someone stole bikes and alcohol from their garage on the 1400 block of West Melrose. 

The victim shared surveillance photos of the intruder on a Slack channel that’s maintained by BARR Neighbors Association, a group of neighbors who fund private security patrols in the area between Barry, Ashland, Roscoe, and Racine streets.

Another member of the group recognized the man as Miguel Sanchez from other burglaries in the area, prosecutors said Friday. The homeowner filed a police report and shared Sanchez’s name with a local beat officer who passed the information along to a burglary detective who handled previous cases involving Sanchez, according to the state’s allegations.

Police arrested Sanchez, age 49, this week. Prosecutors charged him with felony burglary. Sanchez allegedly identified himself in the surveillance photos that the homeowner shared.

Judge Charles Beach set bail for Sanchez at $10,000 and ordered him to go onto electronic monitoring if he can post a $1,000 deposit bond. Before he can do that, though, Sanchez will need to clear up a potential parole violation with the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Prosecutors said Sanchez is on parole for theft. He previously served 30 months for two thefts in 2018. In 2009, he received concurrent 14-year and 10-year sentences for a pair of residential burglaries.

Since 2017, members of BARR Neighbors have pooled money to finance nightly security patrols by off-duty police officers “to serve as eyes and ears” for residents, according to a spokesperson. The officers do not leave their patrol car, but they can respond to crimes and provide information to on-duty officers, the representative said.

Residents and businesses within the Barry, Ashland, Roscoe, and Racine boundaries can email BARR Neighbors for information about becoming a supporter.

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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