"Grinch" Tried to Steal Christmas: Police

Felix Jusino, 26, charged with felony theft after being caught with others' UPS packages

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Felix Jusino, 26, charged with felony theft after being caught with others' UPS packages. (Published Friday, Dec 17, 2010)

    Every year at this time, the North Side Neighborhood of Sauganash draws crowds of onlookers interested in seeing the homes all decked out for the holidays.

    But this year, Chicago Police said, someone else showed up.  They're calling him "The North Side Grinch."

    He's 26-year-old Felix Jusino, of the 1900 block of North Central Park, and he's accused of stealing holiday packages at homes north of West Peterson Avenue.

    "Unfortunately there are people who just steal and think they can get away with it," said Sauganash resident Maureen McCabe, who thought she had found the hassle-free way to get her family's Christmas presents. "I had ideas on what I wanted to get and went online.”

    But online is how she found out her $300 dollar order might be in trouble, with an email from a friend informing her that a man was stealing gifts and packages.

    A phone call to UPS confirmed it.

    "When I called UPS, they said it was delivered to my doorstep and I said, 'I don’t have it,'" she recalled.
     
    It was a burglar alarm in the 6000 block of North Hiawatha on Thursday that ultimately broke the case open.  When police arrived on scene, they said they saw a suspicious man nearby and, knowing there had been a string of suspicious thefts in the area, started questioning him.

    Police said Jusino tried to convince them he was a delivery driver.  But after he couldn’t cough up his credentials, they discovered he had 11 UPS packages that didn’t belong to him.

    A UPS spokeswoman said the case appears isolated, but acknowledged that package pilfering does pick up during the holidays.

    Steve Bernas CEO of the Chicago/Northern Illinois Better Business Bureau said shoppers can proactively protect their holiday presents.

    "The most important thing to do, if you don’t want your package to arrive without anyone being there, is to mark it signature required, which is usually an extra feature that delivery companies allow that make sure someone’s there to sign for it," he said.

    Jusino's arrest Thursday isn't his first encounter with the law, NBC Chicago has learned.  He's yet to be convicted of a crime, but has been arrested 17 times in the past for charges including assault and criminal damage to property.