Oak Park police have arrested a man they say walked into Alcuin Montessori School, 324 N Oak Park Ave., and stole a faculty member’s purse, cash and school-issued laptop computer on April 24.

James Houston, 61, of the 1600 block of West Juneway Terrace, Chicago, was taken into custody at 6 p.m. on June 3, according to a police report.

The original incident report noted that a surveillance camera at the school captured a man walking in at 2:09 p.m., when a parent exiting the building held the door open for him. He reportedly then went to Classroom 11 and stole the laptop, valued at about $800; the purse, valued at $100; and about $50 in cash.

The man then was observed leaving the school carrying a bag with a jacket over it. He exited to the north onto Superior Street, according to the report.

Oak Park Police Commander Roger Grivetti said in a phone interview that police put out a flyer to other police jurisdictions with an image of the man taken from surveillance videos.

The Chicago 16th Police District responded, saying they believed it was Houston, who had burglarized churches in their district, Grivetti said. Oak Park police used an image of Houston in a “photo array,” which is similar to a police lineup, and a witness in the April incident identified Houston.

Oak Park police issued a warrant for his arrest, and Houston was later taken into custody by Chicago police in the 15th District, Grivetti said. He was charged with burglary.

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com

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