PEORIA, Ill. — A Peoria man was arrested for a multitude of vehicle burglaries throughout Peoria’s south side over several weeks.
The PPD responded to 1 Edmond Street on the call of 14 vehicle burglaries. A second report of 22 vehicle burglaries then came in the 2900 Block of SW Washington Street. All 36 burglaries were completed with forced entry into the vehicles resulting in significant property loss from damage.
The Peoria Police Department took 49-year-old William Lear into custody on Thursday morning. Lear was arrested for 95 counts of vehicle burglary and other related charges of criminal damage to property and criminal trespass to land.
The case is still under investigation.
He was booked at the Peoria County Jail.
Peoria Police say Lear hit 28 locations throughout Peoria, mainly on the South Side, but these weren’t the only places affected.
We now know the motivation of these crimes.
“It’s not a pleasant morning when you find out that somebody’s been in the yard and got into people’s cars,” said Bruce Pedigo, Owner of Joe’s Towing.
Pedigo said he believes the police did a phenomenal job in catching Lear, but this experience has made him change up a few things at the yard.
“We’ve added more security cameras that way if it happens again we have more video of someone trying to do it. We’ve adjusted our guys’ schedule on nights so they can be at the yard more,” Pedigo said.
Lt. Michael Boland said Peoria Police believe they know the reasons these burglaries happened.
“He was interviewed by the detectives and without going into much detail it’s a drug-driven crime spree,” Lt. Boland said.
Lear was allegedly looking for ways to make money, and even if he didn’t know what was in the cars, he still decided to break into the vehicles with bull cutters and look for something.
“Apparently he would pick out an area that had a lot of cars in it and he would just go through and start smashing windows and breaking entry into vehicles and stealing whatever valuable merchandise that was handy,” Lt. Boland said.
Lt. Boland says they’re continuing to investigate because there might be even more break-ins that happened that haven’t been discovered yet.