3 men accused of using ruse to steal $6,000 in jewelry from elderly Naperville couple

mugshots of three men accused in ruse burglary
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Three Cook County men have been accused of using a contaminated water ruse to steal $6,000 in jewelry from an elderly couple in Naperville.

Lawrence Miller, 29, Sam Mason, 26, and Christopher Nicholas, 36, have each been charged with one count of residential burglary, with Miller and Nicholas also charged with misdemeanor attempt possession of burglary tools.

Suspects allegedly used contaminated water ruse to gain entry

The incident took place on April 11. According to a news release from the DuPage County State’s Attorney and the Naperville Police Chief, an elderly couple in their seventies was sitting in their car in front of their home on Waxwing Avenue shortly before 4:40 p.m. when they were approached by a man in a yellow safety vest. That man, later identified as Miller, allegedly told the pair there was an issue with their water that he was there to fix.

Police say Miller was able to convince the man to allow him into the home to check out the water in the kitchen, later convincing him to check on the utility boxes at the back of the house.

At that point, police say, Miller’s accomplices, later identified as Mason and Nicholas, went into the house and took about $6,000 worth of jewelry. Miller allegedly had been communicating with his accomplices via a two-way radio. After a short time of being outside, Miller and the others fled the scene.

Later that same day, Miller, Mason, and Nichols were taken into custody at a Schaumburg pawn shop, where they were attempting to sell some of the stolen jewelry,  police said.

Public urged to use be on the lookout for ruses

DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin said the incident is a reminder for all residents to be on the lookout for similar schemes.

“I want to caution homeowners throughout DuPage County to be on alert for this type of ruse, particularly as the weather gets nicer,” Berlin said. “Oftentimes, as alleged in this case, the perpetrators will tell the victim they are there in the interest of the victim, thereby reducing the victim’s suspicions. If you are approached by someone claiming to be from a utility company or service provider and have not received prior notification of their visit, trust your instincts. Whatever you do, do not let them into your home. Ask them where they are from and call the utility company or service provider for verification.”

“This type of crime deprives people not only of their property but also their sense of security,” added Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres. “This department will continue to aggressively investigate such incidents and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. I would encourage the community to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods to this department, as we are all partners in keeping the City of Naperville safe.”

Bond set for all three this morning

Bond was set for all three this morning at a DuPage County Court. Miller’s was set at $1 million, Mason’s at $500,000, and Nicholas’ at $100,000.

Miller and Mason are set to next appear in court on May 9. Nicholas’ next court date is May 11.

photo: handout (L to R) – Lawrence Miller, Sam Mason, Christopher Nicholas

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