Martial Arts Instructor Stole, Pawned Customer’s iPad, Police Say

The man was previously charged with stealing $42,000 from the Wilmette martial arts studio.

Wilmette police say that the manager of a Wilmette martial arts academy who was also stole a customer’s iPad and sold it at a pawn shop the following day, according to a report.

According to the police report, a Wilmette woman told police on Nov. 7 that someone had stolen her $600 iPad2 while she was watching her daughter’s class at Baek’s Tiger Martial Arts studio in Wilmette, 1417 Lake Ave, between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 29.

The woman told police that she had called the studio once on Oct. 29 and again on Oct. 30, and said that on both occasions she had spoken to Ethan Hong, the then manager, and asked him if he had found her missing iPad.

“Mr. Hong told her he did not find the iPad but assured her he would call her if he found her iPad,” the police report reads.

However, according to the police report, a document from a Wilmette pawn shop shows that Hong sold an iPad to the store on Oct. 30 at 5:48 p.m. Wilmette Detective Chris Morgret later recovered the iPad from the pawn shop, and the woman identified the device as her own.

Wilmette police “placed the [pawn shop] document in the case report,” the police report says, and Morgret is quoted in the report as saying that “he will pursue appropriate charges against Mr. Hong.” No charges have been filed yet.

Hong, 24, of the 500 block of Washington Street, Waukegan, was arrested on Oct. 31 and charged with felony theft for allegedly diverting money from business sales into a personal account on 30 separate occasions. Police said Hong admitted to swiping customers’ credit cards through his personal Square card reader, attached to the top of his Apple iPhone, instead of using the business’s credit card machine.

Hong was released on Nov. 2 after posting a $20,000 D-bond and was scheduled to appear in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie on Nov. 6, the day before the Wilmette woman with the stolen iPad contacted police.

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NHL November 16, 2012 at 06:04 AM


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