A parolee allegedly told police that he and members of his burglary crew broke into about 200 businesses across Chicago and the suburbs this winter, including two raids of the Burberry store on Michigan Avenue that netted them $150,000 in goods.
Dion Butts, 24, was charged Monday with ten counts of felony burglary for a fraction of those alleged crimes. An alleged accomplice, Tacarre Harper, was charged with nine counts last month.
“These cases in the singular may not seem that significant to you, Mr. Butts,” Judge Mary Marubio admonished during a bail hearing Monday. “In the aggregate, this causes a sense of insecurity in the city … it is a huge loss to some of these smaller establishments, these liquor stores, grocery stores, jewelry stores.”
She ordered Butts to pay $150,000 cash to get out of jail on the charges.
Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis provided Marubio with nearly the same allegations that he laid out before her for Harper in February.
At 1:03 a.m. on November 26, Butts and three others smashed the glass of a GameStop at 1520 North Cicero and stole $5,000 worth of merchandise, Kalliantasis said. Within the next three hours, they allegedly took $5,000 of alcohol from D&D Wine and Spirits, 2006 West Division, and $3,000 worth of merchandise from DJ Wine & Spirits, 6111 West Division.
Then, the big ones came.
On January 4, Butts, Harper, and two accomplices pulled up to Burberry, 633 North Michigan, at 5:52 a.m. and pulled on the front door until it burst open, Kalliantasis alleged. They all ran inside, stealing bags and shoes worth $70,000.
Kalliantasis said Butts admitted to stealing from the Burberry store on a Facebook video. After his arrest last month, Harper allegedly showed detectives pictures of the purses he stole from the store on his phone.
More break-ins came between 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. on January 6.
First, the crew broke into Apple Bite, 2919 North Broadway, and took $5,550 worth of cash and booze.
Then, they moved to Belmont Harbor Market, 401 West Belmont, and took another $2,500 worth of alcohol. Video from the store shows Harper wearing a Moose Knuckles-brand coat during the break-in and a female accomplice hauling out a trash can full of liquor, Kalliantasis said. Keep that Moose Knuckles detail in mind.
They all fled in a Dodge Durango that, minutes later, pulled up in front of the home of a “prominent Illinois politician,” according to Kalliantasis.
Surveillance video from the politician’s neighbor shows four people dumping cash registers, garbage cans, and cash wrappers taken from the night’s earlier break-ins.
Of course, as CWBChicago reported that morning, the “prominent Illinois politician” is Gov. JB Pritzker, who lives on the 1400 block of North Astor in the Gold Coast.
After unloading their trash in front of the governor’s mansion, the crew again pulled on Burberry’s door until it broke and escaped with another $80,000 worth of purses, bags, and coats, Kalliantasis said.
Butts is also accused of breaking into a jewelry store on the 3600 block of West 26th Street on January 17 to take merchandise worth $5,000 and burglarizing a grocery store on the 5800 block of West North Avenue of $6,200 early on February 3.
Kalliantasis estimated the total losses from Butts’ burglaries at $190,000.
Butts is temporarily held without bail while the Illinois Department of Corrections considers revoking his parole. He was released on January 13, 2021, after serving half of a six-year sentence for aggravated robbery. He was convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2015.
Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said he has four children between 1- and 8-years.
Police gained a big break in the case on January 17 when a woman, 27-year-old Emma Murphy, was involved in a car crash in Oak Park, according to a source.
Inside Murphy’s car, Oak Park cops found inventory taken in the jewelry store heist earlier that day. Also in the vehicle: merchandise from a FootLocker that was burglarized on the 2700 block of North Narragansett around 1 a.m. the same day, prosecutors said. The price tags were still attached, and the clothes were still on their hangers, according to the allegations.
Chicago police took Murphy into custody. CPD detectives linked her to the jewelry store and a liquor store burglary that she allegedly committed with Harper on the 3900 block of West Diversey.
Chicago cops were particularly intrigued by an article of clothing Murphy allegedly had: a fur headband from the high-end winter clothing retailer Moose Knuckles, whose location just a few hundred yards from the Mag Mile had been targeted by late-night raiders twice — including once within minutes of the January 4 break-in at Burberry.
Prosecutors charged Murphy with break-ins at the FootLocker, jewelry store, and a liquor store. Judge Charles Beach released her on her own recognizance with electronic monitoring on January 19.
Court records show Harper stopped showing up in court for his pending burglary case five days later. CPD’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force was already on his heels and arrested him in early February. They caught up with Butts on Sunday.
Using the name “Raymoney Stacks” on Facebook, Harper posted videos and photos of merchandise, including a $1,995 Dolce & Gabbana purse, Gucci sunglasses, Nike merchandise still on its hangers, and a trunkload of sports gear. One of the videos, which has since been removed, featured a man who looked very much like Butts.
“I got over 1,000 hats,” he said in one video, posted on November 1.
Prosecutors alleged Tuesday that other videos show Harper driving around with the crew before the break-ins. In another clip, he lines up bottles of alcohol, which he proceeds to pour on a grave.