Pic of package thief car leads cops to suspect — two months later

Against all odds, a package theft victim’s cellphone photo of the thieves’ getaway car has allowed prosecutors bring charges in the case — more than two months after the crime was committed.

Richard Castillo | CPD

Back on July 23, a Roscoe Village man saw two men walking out of his condo building on the 2000 block of West Belmont shortly before 11 p.m. He thought the men were suspicious, so he confronted them. They sped away in a nearby vehicle with a stack of packages — but not before the resident took a picture of their license plate. He also filed a police report because a package he was expecting to be inside was missing.

The condo building’s surveillance cameras recorded the thieves entering a mailroom to steal packages, prosecutors said.

Detectives ran the license plate number from the man’s picture and spoke to the car’s owner. That person reported they had just sold the car to a woman — and they gave the cops that woman’s name. 

So, detectives ran the woman’s name and realized that she is a co-defendant in a pending criminal case with a man who looks a lot like one of the burglars who was seen on the condo building’s footage. And the theft victim identified that man — Richard Castillo — in a photo line-up, prosecutors say.

Police this week arrested 51-year-old Castillo as he walked out of a liquor store on the 2800 block of North Damen. Prosecutors charged him with burglary and Judge John Lyke released him on a recognizance bond.

According to state records, Castillo has previous felony convictions for theft, forgery, burglary, obstruction, and other crimes.

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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