Convicted burglar pleads guilty to stealing looted merchandise just 5 months after being released due to jail COVID concerns

Some of the people who committed new crimes after being released from the Cook County jail during last year’s COVID outbreak are reaching plea deals.

In fact, convicted burglar Kevin Purdis was one of the first Cook County jail detainees that authorities cut loose when COVID arrived. He had been in jail since May 2019 while awaiting trial for three felony counts of aggravated identity theft and a separate burglary case.

A judge quickly granted a defense attorney’s emergency to release Purdis due to COVID concerns on March 25, 2020.

Then the looting came and, well, burglar’s gonna burgle.

Kevin Purdis and some of the allegedly looted merchandise that police found in his car. | CPD

His latest legal problems began in 2018 when prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of felony identity theft for allegedly using credit cards that were taken in a series of residential burglaries. He got out of jail and, while still on bond and on electronic monitoring for the pending case, managed to get arrested again for burglarizing a home in Lincoln Park.

He didn’t get out of jail again. Well, not until the judge cut him loose due to COVID.

Just five months later, cops arrested Purdis when they allegedly found more than $3,500 worth of looting proceeds in his car during a traffic stop in Old Town.

The looted goods included $2,948 worth of Apple gear, $180 worth of Best Buy merchandise, and $616 in Target inventory, prosecutors said. Some of the boxes still had anti-theft devices attached, according to Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy. All three stores allegedly identified the recovered goods as being stolen from their stores during last August’s citywide raid on retailers.

Prosecutors charged him with felony theft.

Purdis, 28, has now put all of those cases to rest with a series of guilty pleas, according to court records.

Judge Diana Kenworthy sentenced him to two years for one ID theft case. Prosecutors dropped the other two. The judge sentenced him to six years for the Lincoln Park burglary and one year for stealing the looted merchandise, records show.

Kenworthy ordered the sentences to be served concurrently. The state automatically reduced the sentence by 50% for anticipated good behavior. Then, they applied credit for the time Purdis spent in jail and on electronic monitoring while the cases were pending.

In the end, he will be in prison for about nine months, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records.

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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