Accused package thief facing gun and drug charges, too

Juan Ortega | CPD

An Albany Park man is facing narcotics, weapons, and other charges after he was scooped up by police during a package theft investigation early last Friday in the 2900 block of North Clybourn.

19th (Town Hall) District police officers were conducting surveillance on a woman who was wanted in connection with a series of package thefts along the Clybourn corridor around 3:30 a.m. A man who matched the description of an accomplice in the crimes was walking with the woman when police moved in to conduct a field interview.

As police closed in, the man—identified by police as 33-year-old Juan Ortega—ran from the scene and began throwing off pieces of his clothing and a backpack as he tried to evade police, according to an arrest report.

Officers caught up with Ortega a short distance away and began retracing his steps, picking up the items that he allegedly threw on the ground.

Cops said they recovered 41 grams of suspect methamphetamine worth $13,500; a knife with an illegally-long blade; cannabis, and a bag of suspect heroin. Inside Ortega’s discarded backpack was a .22 caliber rifle with a barrel that had been sawed down to just 10.5-inches, below the state’s minimum rifle barrel length of 18-inches, police said. Credit cards belonging to ten other people, a screwdriver, and a pry tool were also recovered, according to cops.

Prosecutors said Ortega was responsible for breaking into two buildings in the 2900 block of North Clybourn to steal packages—once on Feb. 11 and again on March 3.

He is charged with felony possession of a rifle with an illegally-shortened barrel; felony possession of methamphetamine; felony possession of heroin; misdemeanor possession of cannabis; and two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property.

He was also held on a narcotics warrant out of Lake County.

Judge Mary Marubio set bail for Ortega at $5,000, which allows him to go free by posting a $500 deposit bond.

Court records documenting charges against the woman who was under surveillance with Ortega were not yet available as of Thursday.
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