STERLING – You can say this about Chad Palmer: He gets around.

The 44-year-old career thief, who has felony convictions in three counties, was arrested early Thursday morning after a homeowner’s video surveillance captured him wandering around inside her home, which he entered through an unlocked door.

The homeowner showed the video to police, who were so familiar with Palmer that they recognized him immediately. He was picked up shortly after midnight this morning on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

Police are looking for people who also may have had their homes burglarized, and are once again advising people to Lock. Their. Doors. Car doors, garage doors, outbuildings.

Palmer has two pending felony cases in Lee County, one with basically the same m.o. – he is charged there with residential burglary and burglary, both felonies, and the most serious punishable by 4 to 15 years, and two counts of misdemeanor trespass.

Investigators there say he walked into a home on West Leopard Drive on Jan. 13, 2019, “with intent to commit therein a felony or theft.”

He is free after posting $1,000 of his $10,000 bond in that case. He pleaded not guilty in November.

He also is charged with two counts of aggravated DUI, a felony, and misdemeanor DUI, stemming from a Nov. 8, 2017 arrest; his license was suspended at the time.

As of Thursday night, Palmer was not in either Whiteside or Lee County jails, but this arrest could cause his bail to be revoked. He has a Feb. 27 pretrial conference in both cases.

In Whiteside County, Palmer is the subject of six felony cases, one of which is yet to be resolved.

The earliest dates back to 1993, when he received 4 years’ probation for burglary. He was sentenced to 4 and a half years in 2005 for two counts of residential burglary and four of forgery, and to 2 and a half years’ probation for retail theft in 2015, when he took two cans of pinto beans, a jar of grape jelly, two pairs of gloves, a hat, margarine, shredded cheese, two packages of frozen vegetables, a pack of tortillas, a dozen eggs, two packs of potato chips, two six-packs of pop, a bag of walnuts, two packages of meat, a four-pack of pudding and a bag of potatoes from Walmart. (A ninth petition alleging a probation violation in that case was filed Monday.) An aggravated battery charge in a separate 2015 case was dismissed.

In June 2018, Palmer was charged with aggravated assault of an officer for swinging a lawn chair at a cop; he faces 1 to 3 years if convicted and has a pretrial conference Feb 26.

He also has a pending misdemeanor DUI case in Whiteside stemming from a May 2017 charge.

Palmer was convicted of two counts of robbery in Lee County and theft in Bureau County, both in 2007. He also pleaded guilty in February 2019 to a 2017 misdemeanor DUI in Carroll County.

He has six open traffic cases in Lee County. In Whiteside County, he has been cited for traffic violations more than 50 times, including twice for misdemeanor DUI.

Sound familiar

Anyone who thinks their home has been burglarized is asked to call Sterling police at 815-632-6640.

For more local news, visit at

Lee County