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GPS installed on cars helped track cemetery theft suspects

Updated: November 10, 2013 6:28AM

New information into the thefts of more than 100 bronze memorial vases from an Aurora cemetery show how deputies used a GPS unit to track the suspects to a Chicago cemetery where they were arrested committing a similar crime.

Last month, Kendall County deputies filed a search warrant asking a judge to allow investigators to track the whereabouts of David Ryan, 29, of Oswego, and Vincent Teruel, 36, of Sugar Grove, by installing a GPS unit on the mens’ vehicles.

The pair were being looked at as suspects in the theft of vases from Lincoln Memorial Cemetery, 700 block of Route 30 in Aurora.

In seeking the warrant, deputies told the judge that witnesses described seeing two men acting suspiciously at the cemetery on Aug. 28 at 6:50 a.m. Following this report, cemetery workers noticed more than 100 vases, worth around $500 a piece, missing from their plots.

A search of local scrap yards revealed that the day prior, Ryan had brought 24 vases matching the description of those taken from Lincoln Memorial Cemetery to Get Green Recycling, 600 N. Broadway in Aurora. Ryan allegedly gave the scrap yard a note that stated the vases were compensation from his boss. He provided a phone number for that boss, which was actually his accomplice, Teruel.

On Sept. 6, deputies said Ryan had allegedly dropped off 51 additional vases to be scrapped at the same location.

On Sept. 11, deputies went to Ryan’s last known address, 1000 block of Route 30, to take him into custody on an unrelated warrant and question him about the theft of the vases.

Court records indicate that Ryan struggled with deputies, and Teruel attempted to run a deputy over with his vehicle. Ryan was able to escape, and the men fled.

Believing that the men were violent, would continue to resist arrest and were out possibly committing additional crimes, deputies filed for a warrant to have the GPS installed.

Deputies cited that physical surveillance would possibly tip Ryan and Teruel off, or be dangerous to deputies.

They also cited that any information garnered by the GPS would help them plan and safely execute the warrant arrests. The search warrant was granted.

Around 2 p.m. on Sept. 18, deputies used the GPS surveillance to track the pair to a Chicago cemetery where they were believed to have been committing a similar theft.

Kendall County Deputies alerted Chicago police, who were able to catch the theft in progress. Both men were taken into custody in Cook County.

Cook County prosecutors charged Ryan and Teruel with felony theft. Teruel was also charged with possession of burglar tools and heroin possession.

Kendall County prosecutors charged Ryan and Teruel with felony unlawful vandalization of a grave, and felony theft for the gravesite incidents.

Ryan was also charged with felony battery to a peace officer, and resisting a peace officer as a result of the Sept. 11 run-in with Kendall County deputies. Teruel was additionally charged with felony aggravated assault, obstructing a peace officer and driving on a revoked license.

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