Samuel Santiago couldn't leave his apartment without setting off an electronic ankle bracelet keeping him under house arrest. But that didn't stop him from committing murder and armed robbery, police said Friday.

Santiago, 18, is being held without bond in Cook County Jail on charges that he shot and killed a man one day and robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint the next. Police say the crimes occurred within 100 feet of Santiago's home.The electronic monitoring device attached to Santiago's ankle would have alerted authorities only if he were to go farther than 100 feet from a telephone receiver in his apartment, police said.

``He knew just how far he could go without setting off the alarm,' Police Sgt. Ron Rewers said.

Santiago had served about a year of a three-year prison term for auto theft. Because his record in prison was good, he was assigned to the home monitoring program in October, said Nic Howell, a spokesman for the Illinois corrections department.

Authorities say Santiago and Federico Conde, 19, lured Rudy del Castillo to a passageway outside Santiago's home Monday on the pretense of selling him cocaine.

They robbed the 18-year-old of several gold chains and about $1,300 in cash and then shot him, Rewers said.

Police suspected Santiago in the crime but did not arrest him until the next evening, after he robbed a pizza delivery man of $70 and investigators searched his apartment, Rewers said.

They also arrested Conde, who was last seen with the shooting victim, and charged him with murder. He was being held in lieu of $270,000 bond, a jail official said.

Santiago is the first of 1,800 inmates assigned to home monitoring since June 1989 to be charged with a serious offense, Howell said. Eleven people under home monitoring have been charged with lesser crimes, and only two were convicted, he said.

``This one incident should not bear on the rest of the program,' he said, noting that Illinois prisons already hold nearly 10,000 more inmates than the maximum capacity of 18,857.

A spokeswoman for Gov. James Thompson also defended the home monitoring program, saying it is necessary to relieve the state's badly overcrowded prisons.

``It's a great system. It's just not a perfect system,' said spokeswoman Jill Fowler.

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Load comments