March 13, 2012 | 04:39 PMAn Illinois inmate faces criminal charges in Walworth County after allegedly breaking into several homes in 2010.
Vernon E. Nease, 38, of Canton, faces felony charges of burglary, theft of a firearm and a misdemeanor charge of mistreating animals.
If convicted of all the charges, Nease faces up to 44 years and three months imprisonment and $95,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint:
On Jan. 22, 2010, in the town of Richmond, the Walworth County Sheriff's Department began investigating a burglary. A homeowner reported several items of jewelry were missing. After learning of several neighborhood burglaries, a man talked to a suspicious person in a white vehicle.
That person said he was looking for an ATV, which was listed for sale. The suspicious person was later identified in a photo lineup as Nease.
On Jan. 22, 2010, in the town of Sharon, police spoke to a woman who was the victim of a burglary. The woman said when she returned home she found her dog locked in a bathroom.
Inside of the bathroom, the woman found blood and there also was blood in the kitchen. That woman reported that several items were stolen, including a firearm.
The woman said her dog would have aggressively barked at an intruder and possibly tried to bite anyone who came into the home.
On Sept. 23, 2011, at the Illinois River Correctional Center, police interviewed Nease who said he was part of a burglary group, but he wanted to put that in his past.
He admitted to breaking into three homes in the county. In the home in Sharon Township, Nease said someone shot the dog.