Wanted Sterling felon arrested with help of tipster

Erik W. Dunaven in July 2023

STERLING – With the help of a tipster, police on Tuesday found and arrested a longtime Sterling felon charged with burglary whom eight weeks ago they requested the public’s help in finding.

Erik W. Dunaven, 46, formerly of Rock Falls, was arrested at 11:11 a.m. in the 1400 block of East Fourth Street after being charged July 20 with one count of burglary. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to the charging document, Dunaven entered Willy’s restaurant, 3210 W. Lincolnway, with the intent to steal something, which is the statute’s definition of burglary.

He is in the Whiteside County jail on $75,000 bond and had a hearing Wednesday that he refused to attend, court records show. Another pretrial hearing is set for Oct. 25.

According to court records, Dunaven also was charged Nov. 9 with aggravated driving under the influence of drugs, a felony, and DUI of drugs and driving on a revoked license, both misdemeanors.

He was freed Feb. 8 on a $10,000 recognizance bond, and failed to appear at his July 26 pretrial conference, so an arrest warrant and bond concurrent with the burglary case was issued.

Dunaven also was charged Dec. 31 in Whiteside County with residential burglary and felony theft, but those charges were dismissed April 17.

He was sentenced April 28, 2015, to two and a half years in prison for theft. Another felony theft charge in a separate case was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

He also was sentenced Jan. 7, 2011, to four years probation for burglarizing a store in Northland Mall. One count of harassing a witness was dismissed for lack of evidence.

He violated his probation a month later and was sentenced Sept. 2, 2011, to seven years. He appealed to have the sentence reconsidered and won the appeal. On Oct. 10, 2013, he was resentenced to six years and three months in prison.

He was charged Sept. 7, 2007, with aggravated battery and resisting arrest; he was sentenced April 29, 2008, to two years and nine months in prison for the battery, while the misdemeanor was dismissed.

A few months earlier, on April 13, 2007, Dunaven was sentenced in Lee County to three years for destroying evidence in a case filed Aug. 14, 2006. Charges of kidnapping, unlawful restraint and resisting arrest were dismissed per his plea agreement.

Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.