Midlothian man charged in heroin theft
By Jon Seidel Sun-Times Media April 17, 2012 12:29PM
Updated: April 19, 2012 8:23AM
The theft of three kilograms of heroin from a Will County sheriff’s police evidence container wasn’t an inside job, a special prosecutor said Thursday as he charged a Midlothian man with the crime.
But he said police still are looking for at least one other person who took part in the break-in.
Terry D. Jenkins, 43, is charged with burglary and is being held on $150,000 bail. He was arrested Wednesday morning at his home. The charges against him don’t mention the missing heroin, only that on Oct. 12 he broke into the evidence container, 2402 E. Laraway Road, Joliet.
Chuck Colburn of the Illinois appellate prosecutor’s office is serving as special prosecutor and confirmed that it was during the burglary that the heroin was taken. Colburn would not say what led authorities to Jenkins.
Colburn’s office and Illinois State Police were called in to investigate the crime because it involved the sheriff’s department’s evidence. A state police official attended Jenkins’ bond hearing but wouldn’t answer a reporter’s questions. Calls seeking comment from the state police haven’t been returned.
Sheriff’s police realized the heroin — with an estimated value of $270,000 — was stolen after officers on Oct. 14 discovered the break-in at the Laraway Road complex. The metal shipping container holding the heroin at the fenced-in impound lot is monitored by cameras and sealed with a high-tech lock.
Records showed the heroin was placed in the container by Jana Schaeffer, a civilian employee and the daughter of Sheriff Paul Kaupas.
Her husband, Lt. Brett Schaeffer, leads the sheriff’s police gang unit that confiscated the heroin from Jose Zamago-Mena of California during a February 2011 traffic stop on Interstate 55.
Sheriff’s police Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas, a cousin of the sheriff, initially declined to rule out internal suspects in the burglary because of the security at the complex. But Colburn on Thursday did so.
“I can say that we found no evidence to support that there was any inside involvement from any Will County employee,” he said.
Zamago-Mena, 41, is being held at the county jail, awaiting trial. He appeared in a Joliet courtroom Wednesday and told Circuit Judge Edward Burmila that his family had hired a private attorney. None showed, and the judge set another hearing for March 21.
A spokesman for State’s Attorney James Glasgow has said the office plans to prosecute Zamago-Mena, despite the missing heroin. Material taken by officers from Zamago-Mena’s truck has tested positive for heroin, police said.
Court records in Cook and Will counties reveal that Jenkins has a criminal record dating to 1986, when he was convicted in Cook County of burglary and possessing burglars’ tools. He was ordered to pay back $300 and serve 11/2 years on probation, which he violated, records indicate.
They show that he served prison time on a 2003 burglary and a 2006 drug case in Cook County and has been arrested several times in Midlothian on lesser charges. He also pleaded guilty in Will County to four counts of burglary in 2004 for breaking into several storage units in Mokena.
Contributing: Lauren FitzPatrick