Man who wanted to ‘eat like a king’ convicted of shoplifting

A man who said he wanted to “eat like a king” for free has been convicted of shoplifting from a Naperville supermarket, nearly hitting one of its employees with his car and then fleeing from police while drunk.

Michael B. Walley, 26, of far southwest suburban Minooka, pleaded guilty July 25 to charges of driving under the influence, battery and retail theft, stemming from the incident early last spring. Six other charges that included DUI, battery, assault and possession of marijuana were dismissed in exchange for those pleas.

Associate DuPage County Circuit Court Judge James J. Konetski on Wednesday accepted the pleas and ordered Walley to perform 100 hours of community service work as part of his penalty, court records indicated. Konetski also placed Walley on two years of supervision and ordered him to enroll in the county’s DUI school, records showed.

Walley was arrested in the early-morning hours of March 30, following his visit to the Jewel-Osco store at 1227 S. Naper Blvd., in the Market Meadows shopping center on Naperville’s east side.

Police Sgt. Steve Schindlbeck in March said Walley had been drinking and smoking marijuana prior to his arrival there. He gathered $186 worth of steak, salmon and ribs, which he then hid inside his coat, Schindlbeck said.

He was approached by two store employees as he tried to leave the premises. Schindlbeck said the workers had “only confronted (Walley) to tell him that the doors he was trying to exit through were locked” at that hour of the morning.

Walley turned around, and the employees “noticed the food sticking out of his coat, and some of the items even fell to the floor,” Schindlbeck said. Walley, at that point, began fighting with the workers and fled from the store.

Schindlbeck said the employees followed Walley into the parking lot, at which point he got into his green, 1997 Ford Escort and aimed it at one of them when he was leaving. Neither of the workers was hurt.

The Escort “was leaving the lot at a high rate of speed” as the first police officer arrived on the scene, Schindlbeck said.

“By the time the officer got turned around and got caught up to” Walley, he was already at the intersection of 75th Street and Olympus Drive, about a mile and a half due west of the store, Schindlbeck said. He was taken into custody near 75th Street and Modaff Road.

Walley, under questioning, “admitted going (to the store) to steal food, and stated he turns into a kleptomaniac when he gets drunk,” Schindlbeck said. “He stated he simply wanted to go home and eat like a king, without paying for any of it.”

Court documents indicated Walley had no prior criminal record in DuPage, Kane and Will counties.

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