CHICAGO — A Lincoln Park man who was accused a couple of weeks ago of mail theft, ID theft, and possessing 65 bank cards in other people’s names, only to be released by a Cook County judge, is back in custody. Postal inspectors say he didn’t bother to show up for his court date on November 14, and he even stole more mail after they caught him the first time.
We told you about Gustavo Balleza, 36, on November 9, a couple of days after the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and Chicago police arrested him near his home in the 2300 block of North Clark. Postal inspectors said they saw him breaking into mailboxes and stealing mail.
You may remember that CPD offices noted in his arrest report that prosecutors refused to file burglary charges against him at the time.
Postal inspectors said they teamed up with Chicago cops to arrest Balleza again today, in the 2300 block of North Clark, just like the first time. He was carrying two stolen IDs, burglary tools, and ten bank cards in other people’s names, the USPIS said in a press release this afternoon.
They said “at least three” of Balleza’s latest burglaries occurred after he was released from custody on November 8.
“Balleza also had a warrant for failure to appear in court,” the USPIS statement said.
Court records Judge Kelly McCarthy let him walk out of custody on November 8 with only the standard instructions: show up for court, don’t commit any crimes, and don’t contact the victims. If the postal inspectors’ accusations are true, he failed to do at least two of those things.
We’ll know more about the specifics of the new allegations after he appears for his detention hearing this week.
Earlier this month, prosecutors said he was carrying “numerous” fake IDs, stolen mail, and dozens of bank cards issued in other people’s names when cops arrested him around 3 a.m. on November 7. One of the counterfeit IDs included the personal information of a 67-year-old man. That allegation is the basis for an aggravated identity theft charge filed against him.
Balleza also had a flashlight, pliers, two screwdrivers, a lockpick, and sets of keys when investigators stopped him on November 7, police said.
Prosecutors approved felony charges of unlawful possession of a credit or debit card and aggravated identity theft of a person over 60 years old, along with misdemeanor charges of theft and criminal trespassing to a residence.
However, Chicago police noted in the arrest report that a Cook County assistant state’s attorney “rejected” burglary charges.