Wilmette Police arrested a 20-year-old former New Trier High School student Friday after a school acquaintance recognized him when he attempted to burglarize her home earlier that morning, police say.
Russell Thomas, 20, of the 700 block of 11th Street, Wilmette, was charged with one felony count of residential burglary.
A woman and her 19-year-old daughter told police that they were upstairs in their home, located in the 1200 block of Richmond Lane, when they heard noises coming from the first floor early Friday morning.
The daughter said that when she went downstairs to investigate, she saw Thomas standing in the foyer, sifting through her mother’s purse, police reported. When the daughter confronted Russell, he fled on foot, police said.
The teen later told police that she recognized Thomas from her time at New Trier High School, that the two had mutual friends and that she had accepted a Facebook friendship request from Russell six months earlier, police reported.
Police said Thomas later admitted that he had attempted to burglarize several homes and cars parked in that neighborhood after leaving a nearby friend's house.
“He told detectives that he had attempted to enter two homes by walking [through] the backyards and trying home doors to determine if they were locked or unlocked,” a police press release says. “The home he burglarized had an unlocked door. He did not realize that he knew someone from that particular residence.”
Wilmette detectives reported recovering winter coats and a backpack that Thomas allegedly stole during three auto-burglaries.
Thomas is scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie on Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly reported the suspect's name as Thomas Russell.