Man gets 5 years for using postal service master key to burglarize Lakeview mailroom 14 times (while on probation for mail theft)

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been sentenced to 5 years for burglarizing a Lakeview apartment building’s mailroom 14 times last year. The burglaries started just five weeks after Patrick Slagel, 45, received probation for mail theft.

Back in November 2020, Chicago Fire Department paramedics found Slagel passed out on an Old Town sidewalk. While Slagel was being loaded into an ambulance, a firefighter checked Slagel’s bag to make sure there weren’t any weapons inside.

There weren’t any weapons, but there was a 7-inch crowbar, a U.S. Postal Service master key, 72 pieces of mail addressed to a residential complex about four blocks away, and someone else’s credit card, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors charged him with burglary. While that case was pending, he was charged with using a postal service key to steal mail from an apartment complex in north suburban Lincolnwood at least three times.

He pleaded guilty to the Old Town and Lincolnwood cases in exchange for two years probation from Judge Catherine Haberkorn on July 22, 2022.

Exactly five weeks later, he started burglarizing the mailroom at 3130 North Lake Shore Drive, prosecutors said. Slagel allegedly used a device to open a bank of about 35 mailboxes to steal mail each time.

High-definition security cameras recorded him committing the crimes on August 29 and 31; September 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 14, 17, 23, 26, and 27; and October 6, prosecutors said.

Patrick Slagel | Chicago Police Department

The US Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation and recognized Slagel from previous incidents. Officers arrested him when he showed up for a routine probation hearing.

Last week, Judge Michael Hood handed him 14 concurrent five-year sentences for the Lakeview burglaries. The sentence will be reduced by 50% for good behavior and by another 351 credit days he earned before pleading. The Illinois Department of Corrections has not yet published his parole date.

Officials said he admitted to being a “jogger,” the slang term for people who collect bulk mail in theft scams, and to using postal service master keys that were either provided by relatives of USPS employees or were bought or stolen.

And he allegedly told police that he had been directed to target the apartment building and to begin each raid with a specific mailbox. Prosecutors said he had two stolen credit cards when police arrested him.

According to prosecutors, he was convicted of illegally possessing debit or credit cards in DuPage County in 2018 and Cook County in 2019. The Cook County case also involved mail theft, and he was on probation for that case when the firefighters found him unconscious in Old Town.

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