26-time convicted felon burglarized beloved Rogers Park auto shop and 2 other businesses, prosecutors say

Chicago — On the front door of Runge’s Automotive, a family-owned auto shop in Rogers Park that has long been a local favorite, was a hand-painted salute to the store’s founder: “Love forever, DAD. AKA Ralph.”

The story was that Ralph’s sons, current owners Tim and Chuck, planned to have the door glass removed and framed when they retired.

That won’t happen because, prosecutors say, 26-time convicted felon Deiel Reese shattered the glass door during a late-night burglary on February 10.

Deiel Reese (inset) and a surveillance image from the February 10 burglar inside Runge’s Automotive. | Cook County sheriff’s office; Facebook

Reese, who first went to prison for burglary when the first George Bush was president, was also charged with two other burglaries during a bond hearing on Thursday. He’s currently on parole for two robberies and seven burglaries.

A judge gave him nine years for each of those 2018 crimes. But the sentences were served concurrently, and then the time was cut in half for good behavior under state law. Reese received additional credits and was released from prison last August, less than four years after police arrested him to face the charges, according to court records.

The state is reconsidering his parole status in light of the new allegations.

Heavy hearts

The February 10 burglary at Runge’s Automotive, 7478 North Rogers, was the second break-in at the shop in under a month.

“This is getting out of hand and running thin on the Runge boy(s),” the shop said in a Facebook post after the latest burglary. “As Tim and Austin board up the front door and both ask each other, is this even worth it anymore!”

The front door at Runge’s Automotive is seen before and after the February 10 burglary. | Google; Facebook

The store shared a similar post after the first burglary on January 18.

“We come to Facebook this morning with heavy hearts, wondering why we do everything we can to keep as many people happy as possible and try to give back to our neighborhood to be treated with such disrespect.”

The store said that the January break-in involved “multiple individuals” who stole tools, damaged documents, checkbooks, and other items.

“Acts like this will quickly drive us out of the neighborhood. Come on, Rogers Park.”

But the February break-in only involved one person, according to officials: Deilel Reese.

3 burglaries in 90 minutes

During Reese’s bail hearing on Thursday afternoon, prosecutor Rhianna Biernat accused the 49-year-old of breaking into three North Side businesses in about 90 minutes, starting with Runge’s Automotive.

Surveillance video showed Reese punching the shop’s glass door at 11:57 p.m., then kicking out the rest of the glass, which bore the family’s modest salute to their father.

Biernat said that Reese walked around the store for about five minutes, then crawled back out. CTA surveillance footage showed him boarding a train at the Jarvis stop five minutes later.

He took the Red Line to Loyola and allegedly threw a rock through the glass at Blaze Pizza, 6550 North Sheridan. After clearing shards of glass from the window frame with his boot, Reese climbed in, broke both registers, and left empty-handed, Biernat alleged.

Security cameras at Nori Sushi, 1235 West Devon, allegedly captured Reese smashing the front window and stealing cash from the register area about an hour later.

Chicago police detectives used CTA surveillance footage to identify Reese in a database. A Skokie cop who previously arrested Reese identified him from surveillance images, Biernat said.

26 prison sentences

Officers arrested Reese on Tuesday to face three felony counts of burglary. His public defender said he works for a construction company and has two children he “raised into adulthood.”

Judge Ankur Srivastava ordered him to pay a $10,000 bail deposit to get out on electronic monitoring.

According to Illinois Department of Corrections records, Reese has been sentenced to prison for:

  • 9 years for burglary in 2018
  • another 9 years for burglary in 2018
  • five more 9-year terms for burglary in 2018
  • 9 years for robbery in 2018
  • another 9 years for robbery in 2018
  • 18 months for theft in 2004
  • 28 years for residential burglary in 2004
  • 8 years for residential burglary in 2000
  • 8 years for possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 2000
  • 6 years for residential burglary in 1997
  • 1 year for theft from a person in 1997
  • another year for theft from a person in 1997
  • 4 years for residential burglary in 1993
  • another 4 years for residential burglary in 1993
  • two more 4-year terms for residential burglary in 1993
  • 5 years for residential burglary in 1991
  • 5 years for possessing a stolen motor vehicle in 1991
  • 5 years for burglary in 1991
  • three more 5-year terms for residential burglary in 1991

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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