Burglar busted after hauling stolen power washer, 2 big-screen TVs onto CTA bus: prosecutors

Chicago — A six-time felon broke into an Uptown apartment building and then tried to escape by boarding a CTA bus with two big-screen televisions and a power washer, prosecutors said.

When Chicago police asked Richie Ward, 41, why he stole the televisions, he allegedly replied, “Are you gonna feed my wife?”

During Ward’s bail hearing on Friday afternoon, prosecutor Lorraine Scaduto said surveillance video showed him using a “device” to enter a locked lounge area inside an apartment building in the 5100 block of North Sheridan around 3 a.m. Thursday. Footage allegedly showed Ward removing two flat-screen TVs from the walls and leaving a supply closet with the power washer.

Richie Ward | Cook County sheriff’s office

About three hours later and three blocks away, Ward tried to haul the power washer and TVs onto a CTA bus at Lawrence and Sheridan. The driver told him he couldn’t bring all those items on and asked Ward to get off the bus.

But Ward became agitated, threatened to “f*ck up” the driver, and broke the bus’ front passenger window with the power washer’s handle, said Scaduto. The bus driver called police.

While the driver and passengers waited for the cops, Ward unloaded the TVs and power washer, but he was still nearby as officers arrived. They arrested him for damaging the bus window.

Meanwhile, a sergeant responded to a burglary call at the apartment building and immediately connected Ward to the break-in, Scaduto said.

In addition to allegedly telling cops that he stole the TVs to feed his wife, Ward also admitted to breaking the bus window because he didn’t like how the driver was talking to him. And he advised officers that they could not charge him with burglary because he didn’t break the door to enter the lounge, Scaduto continued.

Prosecutors charged him with felony criminal damage to property, possession of burglary tools and, yes, burglary.

Ward’s felony record includes convictions for three separate aggravated battery cases, robbery, and narcotics.

Judge David Kelly ordered him to pay a $2,500 bail deposit to be released on electronic monitoring.

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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