When Martin Canonico walked into a Riverside home on the afternoon of Sept. 9 last year he thought he had found what he was looking for. An elderly man was mowing the lawn outside, but Canonico managed to walk inside the front door on Addison without him noticing. But after a few moments in the home Canonico was confronted by someone he did not expect, 46 year old Kajsa Johnson.
Johnson, who lived in the home with her parents, asked him what he was doing in the home and told Canonico to leave. After they exchanged words, Canonico left the home and Johnson went after him. But he got away after a brief altercation that left Johnson’s clothes ripped. After a nearly three hour search by police from numerous towns Canonico was captured.
Last week a 12 person jury found Canonico guilty of residential burglary after a brief trial that lasted over parts of two days at the Maybrook courthouse in Maywood.
The jury only needed about 15 minutes of deliberation to reach its verdict.
Johnson was the main witness in the case. She told of how she was shocked to find the gray haired 58 year old Canonico standing in her house.
Her father Don Johnson, who also testified, said after the trial that he was not surprised by the verdict.
“It was expected,” Don Johnson said. “You know he’s guilty.”
His daughter followed Canonico after he left the house. She tried to prevent from riding off on the bicycle that he had ridden from Berwyn. She grabbed his bike and he pulled away from her knocking her to the asphalt and ripping her clothes. She got up and continued to chase after him as a bystander called the police.
Why did she chase the would be burglar?
“I didn’t want him to get away,” Kajsa Johnson said. “I would not recommend that anyone do that necessarily.”
Canonico’s defense lawyers argued that Canonico didn’t take anything from the house and noted that he had fliers for a painting business. Prosecutors argued that those fliers were merely a cover as Canonico posed as a painter and looked for homes where no one was home that he could break into.
The defense argued that Canonico was only guilty of criminal trespass to property, but the jury was convinced by the prosecutors that he had a clear intent to steal.
Canonico has an extensive criminal record involving burglary and apparently had an expensive drug habit though evidence on both those points was mostly inadmissible.
Kajsa Johnson said the case shows that people must be careful.
“People are very comfortable in Riverside,” Johnson said after the verdict. “They don’t think about crime. You have to be careful about keeping your home locked.”
Canonico is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6. He faces four to 15 years of prison time.