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Local News

Sources: Suspect may have been on drugs, thought he was in a video game

A Plainfield man who went on a five-minute crime spree was a “very odd individual” who may have been on drugs and thought he was playing a video game, several sources said.

Thomas S. Manaras Jr., 34, of Plainfield, has been sitting in the Will County jail on a $2 million bond since Friday after trying to rob a Burger King, a 7-Eleven and a Chase Bank branch while driving a stolen red Cadillac sports utility vehicle. He stole $12 from the 7-Eleven, Joliet Deputy Police Chief Ed Gregory said in an email.

Gregory said a clerk present in one of the robberies noticed something unusual about Manaras’ demeanor. The clerk told of Manaras’ glassy eyes and slurred speech, which led him to believe he was “under the influence of an unknown narcotic,” Gregory said.

Jeremy Knudsen, a clerk at Plainfield Mart, 22921 Lincoln Highway, Plainfield, claimed Manaras, a frequent customer, was a “very odd individual” who dressed in a suit, reeked of marijuana and would come into the store “blasted out of his mind.”

“He would bring you into a conversation he was having with himself,” Knudsen said.

He said Joliet police sources who were present during Manaras’ arrest told him the suspect was “lost mentally” and thought he was playing the video game “Grand Theft Auto.” Gregory didn’t respond to a question about Knudsen’s claim.

A relative of Manaras who asked not to be named said he hadn’t spoken with Manaras since he left his home on May 26. He said he was glad nobody was hurt during the robberies and that he didn’t know why Manaras allegedly committed them. He said he had no plans to bail Manaras out of jail.

In 2015, Manaras pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender in Plainfield three days after he was released from the Cook County jail, according to court records. He is registered as a sexual predator in Florida.

In the same year, he pleaded guilty to possessing a stolen Dodge Ram.

A protective order filed against Manaras by his aunt on May 30 alleged he was sent to a sober living facility, punched someone and overdosed on heroin. The order also alleged he talked his grandmother into giving him $9,000.

“I believe that my mother gives him the money because he plays on her emotions,” the aunt said.

Manaras’ grandmother paid his $30,000 bond when he was jailed for failing to register as a sex offender in 2014, according to court records.

Aurora police are probing Manaras’ possible connection to the 11 a.m. Friday theft of a car stolen from a parking lot in the 300 block of East Galena Boulevard, police spokesman Dan Ferrelli said.

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