Thief stays with, steals from residents

Nathan Domenighini

Morton police arrested a Deer Creek man after he turned himself in following thefts from three residences in which he was staying.

Nicholas K. Phillips, 21, of 700 W. Third Avenue in Deer Creek, was arrested for theft over $300 July 15, according to a Morton Police Department report.

Phillips allegedly was staying with residents in Morton after he was kicked out of his parents’ home. In early March, the residents noticed a number of jewelry items were missing and contacted police, indicating they thought Phillips was responsible for stealing the items.

According to the report, Phillips was also wanted in connection with a similar theft in Washington.

Phillips allegedly fled the area to stay with residents in  Tempe, Ariz. He was later arrested by police in Tempe when the residents he stayed with contacted police after they thought Phillips stole from them as well.

Phillips returned to Morton July 15, and within hours of arriving, he turned himself in at the Morton Police Department.

According to the report, the Morton family with whom Phillips resided in March told him by phone that he took $15,000 worth of jewelry from them. After asking him how much he got in exchange for the jewelry, Phillips said he got about $800 to $900 for the items he took from them.

Police eventually recovered six pieces of jewelry from Adams Street Exchange in Peoria. An employee at the pawn shop said the items were purchased from Phillips for $190.

Phillips reportedly pawned jewelry off at A-Z Pawn Shop in Peoria. An employee there said they paid Phillips $300 for the jewelry he pawned. Police were unable to recover the stolen items because they had already been sold.

Phillips told police that he has a gambling problem, and much of the money he obtained through trading at the pawn shops was used to gamble at the Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino in East Peoria, according to the report.

Phillips was arrested and booked at Tazewell County Jail after being unable to post 10 percent of his $7,500 bond.