A suspect was charged early this morning in connection with the theft of several of the hefty pay-and-display parking boxes from city streets, police said.
Jeffery Kaput, 38, of the 5500 block of West Cortez Street, was charged with four felony theft counts related to the 200-pound LAZ boxes, according to police. He was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Kaput was pulled over late Monday at 5518 W. Augusta Blvd. by an Area 5 robbery mission team after police had received a description from a witness of a car that had collided with one of the LAZ parking boxes, according to a police report.
Officers also had video evidence of the same vehicle being used by a suspect who dumped one of the meters, the report said.
The drug charge pertained to a crack pipe that police said Kaput admitted he had dropped as officers pulled him over about 11:45 p.m., according to the report.
Earlier this month, police said about 20 parking boxes have been stolen since Sept. 17, with only four recovered.
The thefts occurred citywide, with nearly half in Area 5 on the Northwest Side. It was not known how much money the boxes had held.
The deal that privatized the city's parking meters has been a political nightmare for Mayor Richard Daley and aldermen who granted lightning-fast approval of the the 75-year, $1.15 billion lease of the city's 36,000 meters.
The theft of the meters is still being investigated by Area 4 and Area 5 detectives.
Kaput is scheduled to appear in bond court later today.
from the Trib