James Matthews is accused of stealing items from military foot lockers that were going through O'Hare International Airport on their way overseas.
Photo credit: Chicago Police Department
July 25--A Cook County judge expressed disbelief this afternoon that a 41-year-old Sauk Village man charged with stealing items that belonged to active-duty military members from O'Hare International Airport had managed to get hired at the secure facility despite a 1991 murder conviction.
James Matthews, who did ten years of a 20 year sentence on the murder conviction yet was hired by airport contractor Swissport International, is charged with two felony counts of theft after he was caught on surveillance video stealing two laptops from a footlocker, prosecutors said.
"He's got a job at the airport and he's got a murder conviction -- is that correct?" Judge James Brown asked Assistant State's Attorney Erin Antonietti. "In light of 9/11 a company would hire a person with a murder conviction?"
Matthews was suspected of stealing from an area with postal cargo inside the airport and investigators set up video surveillance. He was caught on Wednesday just before 7 p.m. stealing two laptops, each valued at about $500.
The items were being sent to active-duty military members overseas.
Matthews allegedly admitted stealing the computers and said he planned to sell them for cash.
"He said he needed money to fix his car," Antonietti said.
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