CHICAGO — When Ramon Beaulieu turned the key to open the door to his boat in Diversey Harbor Friday morning, he was looking forward to a good night’s sleep after a five-hour drive from Michigan, where he had been away on business for the past two weeks.
But the key did not made the usual click. The door was unlocked. Someone had apparently been making himself at home on Beaulieu’s boat, the “Giddy Up!”
First he saw ashes, crumbs and yellow and pink stains across the floor of the boat’s living space. For a second, Beaulieu, 48, thought some his friends may have played a prank because he had to cancel a party on the boat last week.
“I was tired and thought I was imagining things,” said Beaulieu, who said he lives on his boat during the summer and lives in a downtown condo the rest of the year.
But then he spotted a pair of white men’s shoes in the corner of the room. They weren’t his. And his bed was a mess, as if someone had slept in it for days. Bobby pins were strewn over the floor, and a handful of peanuts were scattered in a corner.
“I started realizing that nothing looked right,” Beaulieu said. “I knew there is no way anyone I know would ever do this.”
Beaulieu discovered that his camera, phone and kitchen knives were missing, as well as food and liquor in the cabinets of the kitchen. Boxes of granola bars, chips, salsa, macaroni and cheese, all gone.
The burglar also took a liking to Beaulieu’s clothes, it appeared. His new Adidas shoes were missing, Beaulieu said.
“He has been cooking. He has been sleeping with a girl in my bed. He has taken anything and everything,” Beaulieu said. “This guy is pretty bold.”
He and police have an idea who that guy may be and how he got inside the boat.
Beaulieu told officers he found a zip-lock bag stuffed with court documents for a man who was recently released from Cook County Jail and failed to show up for a court hearing on Wednesday.
The man, 24 and from Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, was arrested in May for stealing clothes from a home a few blocks west of Diversey Harbor. He was charged with felony burglary and ordered on electronic monitoring, according to court records.
He was due in court Wednesday but didn’t show up and an arrest warrant was issued for him. He has other arrests on his record for reckless conduct and theft, records show.
Police reported no one in custody Friday morning.
Beaulieu believes the burglar was able to find a spare key to the boat that he hid inside a small bag on the side of his boat.
He said there is no camera surveillance at the harbor, but he hopes a camera on his neighbor’s boat will be some help.
“This boat is my home,” he said. “I put all my money into this thing. … I think this guy has a code (to the dock), which is pretty scary.”
Beaulieu said he was surprised to find that the burglar completed one chore while staying on the boat. “The weird thing is, he has been taking out the garbage.”