Chicago burglars busted because suburban cops secretly placed a GPS tracker on their getaway car: prosecutors

Chicago — Three men charged with burglarizing a Chicago home on Friday were caught because a suburban major case squad had secretly hidden a GPS tracker on their car as part of another investigation, prosecutors say.

Chicago cops responded to a burglar alarm in the 4700 block of West Altgeld around 7 p.m. Friday and found a home’s front door ripped and peeled open. The homeowner reported $10,000 worth of jewelry missing, prosecutors said.

Nicholas Costello (L) and Peter Wanko. Gino Gargano’s mugshot was not available. | Cook County sheriff’s office

Also at the scene, prosecutors said, were members of the North Suburban Regional Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional investigative team. They told Chicago officers that they put a GPS tracker on a car they suspected was involved in a string of burglaries. The vehicle pinged at the Altgeld address about 15 minutes before the burglar alarm activated, according to prosecutors.

Officials said the investigators followed the GPS pings and found the suspects exiting the car in the 5200 block of West Fullerton. Peter Wanko, 26, Gino Gargano, 29, and Nicholas Costello, 34, had the Altgetld victim’s jewelry, prosecutors said, and each is charged with residential burglary.

Prosecutors said that Wanko tried to avoid being caught by hiding in the bathroom of a jewelry store.

Judge Barbara Dawkins set bail for each man at $10,000, meaning they must post $1,000 to get out of jail. She also held Wanko without bail for violating probation in a pending case.

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