Man arrested for apartment break-ins

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois – University of Illinois Police on Monday arrested a man after a series of apartment break-ins at a high rise in the 300 block of East Green Street, Champaign.

In January and February, multiple residents reported sightings of a suspicious person, sometimes entering unlocked apartments. When confronted by residents, the man would claim that he was a maintenance employee and leave abruptly.

On Monday, a building resident saw the man again and promptly notified building management, who called police. Officers searched the building and found the man, later identified as Travis T. Williams, 31, of Champaign, in the stairwell. Williams initially ran when officers attempted to stop him, but he was detained quickly.

Police found Williams in possession of a bottle of liquor he claimed to have obtained in a trade with residents of the building. Officers asked those residents about the purported trade, but they had no knowledge that Williams had been in their apartment and did not give him permission to take the liquor bottle. However, one of the residents had heard his apartment door open and close. When he went to check on the sound, he saw Williams leaving their floor.

Williams was arrested Monday for burglary and trespassing. He was taken to the Champaign County Jail.

In January, another resident reported that a man had entered her unlocked apartment on three separate days, each time claiming to be maintenance. He left when confronted.

Security camera footage obtained after the January incidents showed a man in the building walking through hallways and checking door handles, presumably to find unlocked apartments.

“This is a good example of cooperation between the building and police, and our officers were able to make an arrest because a resident in the building was observant and did not hesitate to contact us,” said U. of I. Police Chief Alice Cary. “It also shows the importance of locking your doors, even when you are at home. A locked door will prevent burglary in almost all instances, but an unlocked door presents an opportunity for crime.”

Please note, those arrested are presumed innocent until proved guilty, and formal charges may change as cases are adjudicated.