Surprise! Old Town homeowner confronted burglar with a knife, prosecutors say

An Old Town man confronted a burglar in his living room with a knife after the prowler broke through his front window with a brick, prosecutors said. A bond court judge said the accused man could go home on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring.

Around 6:40 a.m. on May 10, the man heard a noise in the house on the 1700 block of North Sedgwick. He grabbed a knife for protection while he went to investigate, Assistant State’s Attorney Sean Kelly said. The man’s wife was also there, working from home.

Joshua Pittman and the approximate location of the alleged burglary. | CPD; Multiplottr

When the man arrived downstairs, he discovered a stranger standing in the living room, about three feet from his large, double-pane front window. There was a brick on the floor, Kelly said.

The burglar left through the front door after the man ordered him to get out. Kelly said the man’s wife took a picture of the burglar as he left their home.

Police arrested Joshua Pittman, 29, about 30 minutes later on the 400 block of West Wisconsin after residents of another building reported a man was pleasuring himself in their hallway, according to a CPD report.

Officers compared him to the picture that the woman took of the burglar and realized they were the same person. Kelly said the woman picked Pittman out of a photo line-up, but the husband picked a different man from the photo array.

Prosecutors charged Pittman with criminal trespass to a residence, criminal damage to property, theft, and public indecency. Kelly said he was convicted of robbery in 2016 and retail theft in 2017.

Pittman’s public defender said he is a high school graduate who lives with roommates.

Judge Maryam Ahmad released Pittman on his own recognizance with electronic monitoring He is due back in court on May 18.

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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