An inmate in DuPage County, Illinois, is demanding to be freed from jail within two weeks if personal property taken from him during his July 2015 arrest, including three pairs of underwear, a "Mr. Froggy" plush animal and concert tickets, are not returned to him. Ignatius "Michael" Pollara, 50, of Tamarac, Florida, is being held on $125,000 bail on a burglary charge, accused of stealing several paintbrushes and a box of pencils from a Lombard Hobby Lobby store.
Pollara argued in court on Thursday, against the advice of Assistant Public Defender Mark Lyon, that the Oak Brook Police Department's "negligence and carelessness" in failing to safely store his items has deprived him of his due process. In a written motion, Pollara also demanded to be discharged from jail within 14 days if the items are not returned.
DuPage Judge Brian Telander warned Pollara that his antics frequently come close to trying his patience. But he also asked prosecutors to try to find Pollara's missing property not considered to be evidence.
Oak Brook police Sgt. Ben Kadolph said on Thursday afternoon his department has "a lot of property" taken during Pollara's arrest, including a stuffed animal.
"We have several boxes of stuff that was taken as evidence in this and possibly other cases," Kadolph said. "And we have a box of his personal property."
In the motion filed on Feb. 10, Pollara identified the missing items he wants returned. Included in his list were a backpack and a suitcase, a laptop computer, several clothing items, "one Hearst Castle plush blanket," "tickets to U2 and Grateful Dead concerts" and "one stuffed 'Mr. Froggy' plush animal with tag."
Pollara chastised Lyon in court when the attorney advised him his written motion contained potentially incriminating evidence, including the part where Pollara wrote that he "decided not to pay for two paint brushes and a small box of pencils."
"Are you working for me or against me?" Pollara demanded of Lyon. "Why am I here? I need to know this."
Telander set the case for an April 5 status date, during which Telander will meet with prosecutors and Lyon to try to reach a plea deal.
But Pollara wants out of jail sooner than that.
"I think I've been here long enough for two paint brushes and a bag of pencils," he said, before being warned by a deputy to calm down and lower his voice.
In Florida, Pollara is known as the "Toys 'R' Us Kid" and the "Lego Bandit" after he was convicted in a 2012 burglary spree in which he stole more than $2 million in Lego sets and toys from the Toys "R" Us chain.