Man arrested for water theft

Squatter stayed in Prestbury home for eight months
by Susan O’Neill
The Kane County Sheriff’s Department evicted Steven Hathorne from a home in Prestbury on Wednesday, and charged him with stealing Sugar Grove water.

According to Sugar Grove Police Department investigator John Sizer, Hathorne had been living in the home in unincorporated Sugar Grove Township since August 2008. The former owner moved out when the house was foreclosed early last year. The house had been listed for sale at $780,000.

“He’s basically just a squatter,” Sizer said. “He had no legal authority to be there.”

Sizer said he spent months contacting various branches of the national banking company holding the mortgage to obtain authorization to evict the man.

“No one would take the responsibility,” he said.

Hathorne cut two village locks off of the water valve and installed his own to gain access to the water. He then modified the water meter to prevent the village from determining how much water he was using.

Sugar Grove police found on April 15 that Hathorne had used approximately $1,400 in village water since he moved in eight months ago.

Sugar Grove police arrested Hathorne on two felony charges, one for criminal damage to state-supported property and another for theft of government property.

Hathorne was taken into custody to the Kane County jail, where a judge set his bail at $250,000.

“The courts are taking this pretty seriously,” Sizer said.

Sizer said that the number of vacant or foreclosed homes is becoming a big problem in the area, with as many as 60 empty homes in Sugar Grove alone at any given time (see related story on this page). Police officers check the homes on a regular basis, in an attempt to prevent damage to the homes or someone from gaining access.