Fingerprints lead to arrest in 2010 burglary near UI campus

Fingerprints lead to arrest in 2010 burglary near UI campus

URBANA — A Champaign man who had been sentenced to probation on Wednesday for having cannabis intended for sale has been arrested again for residential burglary.

Evan Castaneda, 19, who listed an address in the 2000 block of Hemlock Drive, has been linked to a break-in that occurred in Urbana almost two years ago.

Urbana police investigator Dave Smysor said on Oct. 30, 2010, two female University of Illinois students returned to their home in the 800 block of West Oregon Street to see two men standing in an area where their front porch had been, looking in a window. The house was being renovated.

Smysor said one of the women confronted those two while the other went to the back of the house, the only door that could be entered, and confronted two men who were coming out. One of the exiting men was holding a laptop computer, told her someone gave it to him, and handed it to her.

Smysor said the woman followed the two men who had been in the house to a car and even jumped on the hood to keep them from leaving. They took off anyway with her clinging to the hood until they turned a corner and knocked her off. She was not seriously injured.

The two women discovered an Xbox 360, games for it, and two digital cameras had been stolen from their home. Outside the front window were their purses and contents and a vodka bottle that had been in their living room.

Smysor said from the way the furniture had been rearranged, it appeared that the intruders came in through a front window.

Police came and lifted fingerprints from several items. Those latent prints were submitted to the state crime lab but, as of December 2010, did not match anyone on file in the fingerprint database, Smysor said.

On July 30, 2012, Castaneda was arrested by University of Illinois police for having a quarter-pound of cannabis in his home on North Gregory Street in Urbana. At that time, his fingerprints were submitted to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Smysor said his department was notified of the match between Castaneda and the unresolved burglary fingerprints in early August.

Because the victims no longer lived in Urbana, Smysor said it wasn’t until Oct. 5 that his department was able to reach one of the women, who confirmed that neither of them knew Castaneda.

On Thursday, Smysor said, Castaneda contacted the police department after learning officers were looking for him.

“He claimed to remember the incident and said he was at a party next door that night. He was just standing on the front lawn about five minutes when he was approached by a woman who said her house had been burglarized and he stood by with her while a white male ran past both of them,” Smysor said.

Smysor said Castaneda was arrested for residential burglary after his explanations didn’t match up with the physical evidence. He was charged Friday with that Class 1 felony offense which is punishable by four to 15 years in prison upon conviction.

On Wednesday, Castaneda was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to possession with intent to deliver cannabis for having the cannabis in his home in July.