An alleged burglar tried tricking firefighters into thinking he was working on a residence, where a fire alarm went off. He left the scene on a blue bicycle when they uncovered the ruse, police said.
About 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, Joliet firefighters responded to a fire alarm at a residence in the 400 block of North Center Street and encountered a man, later identified as Jeriot K. Lomax, 34, of Joliet, leaving the residence, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said.
Lomax claimed he was working on the residence, showed firefighters around the property and further claimed his boss would be available later to answer questions about the alarm.
However, a neighbor, who said she was watching the residence for the owner, who was in the hospital, later approached firefighters, Gregory said. When the firefighters went to question Lomax, he had reportedly left on a blue bicycle.
Joliet police officers arrived on the scene, went inside the residence and allegedly discovered copper piping was missing. They also noticed other pipes had been cut but not yet removed. Officers discovered a broken front basement window, as well, where Lomax presumably gained entry.
A description of Lomax was given out to other officers, who eventually found him with a bag filled with tools commonly used in burglaries, Gregory said.
He was arrested and positively identified by the firefighters. Lomax was charged with residential burglary and possession of burglary tools.
Lomax was taken to Will County jail on a $5,000 bond. Lomax was also wanted on several traffic violation charges, according to the county jail log.