An Oak Park man out on parole for three 2003 Oak Park burglaries was charged with attempted burglary Monday. Andrew Mazzeo was stopped on the 500 block of South Oak Park Avenue on Sunday by Oak Park tactical officers responding to a burglary on the 1000 block of Clarence Avenue. The officers were part of a "directed mission" team intended to attack a rash of recent residential, garage and car burglaries.
Mazzeo, who was paroled from prison last July after serving two years of a four-year sentence, was subsequently identified by a homeowner who allegedly witnessed him climbing through his window. According to police, the house next door appeared to have been entered by the same means.
The two break-ins were among six residential burglaries on Sunday alone-and nearly 50 break-ins so far in May.
Mazzeo, 30, of the 1150 block of South Taylor Avenue, is apparently quite persistent. After his arrest in May, 2003, for two Oak Park burglaries, he was placed on house arrest and electronic monitoring in his Oak Park home due to overcrowding at Cook County Jail. Police say he removed the monitor from his ankle, and proceeded to burglarize another home.
This time police were waiting.
"We were experiencing a dramatic increase in all kinds of burglaries," said Oak Park Deputy Chief Bob Scianna, noting that the rash of recent break-ins was the result of warmer weather. "Windows are open, and people leave their garage doors open while they do yard work and such."
The police operation has had results. Sunday's arrest was the fourth since May 10, when police arrested a Chicago man for a garage burglary. Around 1 a.m., May 14 police arrested Ron Cey Stancle, 32, of Chicago after he was allegedly observed entering a car in the 400 block of South Austin Boulevard. LaShawn D. Manning, 22, of Chicago was arrested the evening of May 19 after she was allegedly observed breaking a car window in the 100 block of Madison Street and entering it.
Scianna stressed that there are likely several burglary teams operating in the village, targeting either homes or garages.
"His [method] is through windows," Scianna said of Mazzeo. "There are others who are kicking in doors"-as well as breaking car windows and prying garage doors. Scianna said he plans to continue the directed burglary mission.
"We'll keep it out there," he said.