CHICAGO — While law enforcement agencies and many Chicagoans seem to think mail theft and the financial crimes fueled by stolen mail are big deals, people who carry out the schemes are being let off pretty lightly.
A man-woman team recently pleaded guilty to engaging in mail theft on the North Side and in the South Loop. One received probation, and the other received three years, although he’ll be released in a fraction of that time.
Alex Petik, 36, was charged last spring with burglarizing a mailroom in the 4800 block of North Bell four times in October and November 2022. Two days after the last break-in, one of the residents learned that someone was trying to open multiple credit card accounts in their name.
A Lincolnwood Police Department sergeant and a U.S. postal inspector recognized the thief as Petik, prosecutors said.
A backpack he was carrying when police arrested him last year allegedly contained a Russian passport, two fake IDs with his photo but other people’s personal information, four credit cards with different names, five checks issued to various businesses and individuals, and 14.2 grams of suspected crystal methamphetamine.
Petik got out on electronic monitoring but failed to show up in court a couple of months later. Cops found him in the suburbs.
Officials said he had used a fake driver’s license with someone else’s name and birthday on it to rent a U-Haul in Chicago, which he drove to an Infiniti dealership in Hoffman Estates with 36-year-old Amanda Solis.
Petik parked the truck behind the dealership, and Solis went inside, using a fake ID bearing her picture and another woman’s personal information to apply for a car loan, Hoffman Estates police said in criminal complaints.
According to court records, postal inspectors, working with surveillance footage, determined that Petik and Solis teamed up to burglarize the mailrooms of two residential complexes in December 2021. Officials said the duo used postal service master keys, known as “arrow keys,” to break into mailrooms in the 1900 block of South Michigan and the 2100 block of West Wellington.
Petik recently cut a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to two counts of burglary, one count of burglary without causing damage, and one count of knowingly possessing a fictitious ID, according to court records. Prosecutors dropped an escape from electronic monitoring charge.
Judge Peggy Chiampas handed him three years on each burglary count and one year for the fake ID charge. The sentences will be served concurrently and reduced by 395 days of credit he earned in jail and on electronic monitoring, giving him an anticipated parole date of May 15.
Solis pleaded guilty before Chiampas to burglary and burglary without causing damage in exchange for a 30-month probation sentence and 128 days of time served.
The identity theft case she picked up at the Hoffman Estates car dealership is still pending with a different judge.