Woman charged with North Side burglary wave

CHICAGO — A woman is responsible for carrying out a rash of residential burglaries on the North Side, prosecutors said Tuesday, linking her to a host of break-ins from Uptown to Lincoln Square.

All of the burglaries were caught on camera, solidifying the evidence against the accused woman, 46-year-old Tracy Ratliff, prosecutors say.

Starting in late March and continuing until Monday, Ratliff used everything from a blowtorch to bolt cutters as she stole bikes, a scooter, and countless other items, according to allegations made in her bail hearing yesterday.

Early on  March 31, Ratliff and an accomplice entered condo building garages in the 4200 and 4300 blocks of North Sheridan. They torched and cut locks from three bikes and hauled them away, Assistant State’s Attorney Sarah Dale-Schmidt said.

Around 1:50 a.m. on June 13, she allegedly stole two electric bicycles from a garage in the 4700 block of North Winchester. Later that day, about a block from the burglary scene, cops saw a man riding one of the electric bikes while holding onto the other one, Dale-Schmidt said. 

The man allegedly told the officers that his girlfriend told him to pick up the bikes at the intersection of Wolcott and Leland.

On Monday morning, Chicago police officers saw Ratliff struggling to get a $2,000 electric bicycle to work in the 5300 block of North Ravenswood. According to Dale-Schmidt, she told the officers that her boyfriend gave her the bike, then changed her story and said she found it.

But police learned from the manufacturer that the bike belonged to a man who lives about a half-block away. The cops arrested Ratliff, who was allegedly carrying six Allen wrenches, two pliers, several screwdrivers, and a package of drill bits.

Tracy Ratliff and the approximate locations of the burglaries she is accused of committing. | Multiplottr; Cook County sheriff’s office

Dale-Schmidt said Ratliff is also responsible for burglaries in the 4800 block of North Bell on June 3 and June 16; the 4800 block of North Claremont on June 3 and June 16; and the 2200 block of West Lawrence on June 16. Some of the burglaries involved mail theft, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

She has one previous felony conviction: a burglary case from 2018.

Judge Kelly McCarthy set bail at $150,000, meaning Ratliff must post $15,000 to get out on an ankle monitor. She’s charged with eight counts of burglary, four counts of theft, and possession of burglary tools.

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