Chicago cop who went to federal prison in 2006 is now charged with taking $350,000 cash from senior citizen’s safe

CHICAGO — Joseph Pecora, who went to federal prison in 2006 for intending to distribute 50 pounds of pot while employed as a Chicago police officer, was arrested Wednesday after DNA testing linked him to a whopping $350,000 residential burglary, according to court records and law enforcement sources.

Pecora, who resigned from the police department shortly before heading to prison, has apparently continued his service to the city post-conviction. Municipal payroll records list him as a $101,000-a-year “asphalt laborer” for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Shortly before 8 a.m. on May 6, 2023, someone broke through the basement window of a 79-year-old woman’s home in the 5700 block of West School while she was away.

The prowler stole about $350,000 in cash from the woman’s safe and slipped away, according to CPD records. But the burglar also left some blood on the woman’s basement curtain. Detectives sent it out for DNA analysis.

According to prosecutors, blood matched Pecora’s DNA profile.

Joseph Pecora (Chicago Police Department)

Judge William Fahy released Pecora, who’s charged with residential burglary, on electronic monitoring during a court hearing Thursday afternoon.

Back in 2005, Pecora was in his fifth year on the Chicago police force, working as a patrolman on the Near North Side, when he got wrapped up in the wrong end of a federal drug investigation.

Federal officials said he took about 50 pounds of pot worth $150,000 from a supplier with a promise to pay for it after he sold it to a third party. What Pecora and the supplier did not know is that the supplier’s supplier was cooperating with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

When the informant confronted Pecora about the $150,000 he owed, Pecora claimed that the pot was seized by law enforcement and he nearly got arrested because of it, according to the original federal complaint.

Pecora suggested that he could provide the informant with a false police report so the informant could explain the situation to higher-ups, the complaint said.

The Chicago Department of Transportation did not respond to an inquiry on Thursday seeking information about Pecora’s employment status.

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About Tim Hecke 374 Articles
Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is