Gregory Cook

A Cicero man, charged with stealing Christmas gifts from two homes in Riverside and then re-gifting those items to members of his own family, likely will miss at least another Christmas at home.

On Feb. 20 at a hearing before Judge Gregory Ginex at the Maybrook courthouse, Gregory G. Cook, 43, pleaded guilty to theft and unlawful possession/use of a credit card. Cook was sentenced to four years and six months in state prison.

The Illinois Department of Corrections has not yet determined when Cook will be eligible for parole, but he already had served 429 days in Cook County Jail, where he has been held since his arrest on Dec. 19, 2012.

Cook broke into two Riverside homes within one week, on Dec. 6 and Dec. 12. He stole merchandise and credit cards from the homes. Some of the merchandise he returned to stores and purchased other items, and some of the merchandise he simply re-gifted, putting a label with the words “From Greg” on the packages.

On Dec. 13, 2012 police obtained surveillance camera footage from a store showing Cook using a stolen credit card. And then one of the victims went to every Victoria’s Secret store in the area to alert them in case anyone tried to return merchandise that had been stolen.

Cook later walked into the Victoria’s Secret in Lombard to return the item, and an employee, who obtained Cook’s information during the exchange, called police. On Dec. 19, police staked out Cook’s Cicero home for 10 hours before arresting him.

Inside Cook’s apartment, police reported finding a number of items stolen from the Riverside homes, along with the stolen credit cards.

He was initially charged with two counts of residential burglary, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of theft.

It’s not Cook’s first stretch in prison. In 2003, he was convicted of four counts of residential burglary and was sentenced to seven years. In 2006, he was convicted of burglary in Peoria and was sentenced to 10 years. He was paroled for that offense in April 2011.