A suburban Chicago man who played a role in the violent home invasion robbery of a sports card collector nearly three years ago has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Cook County prosecutors say Steven Chung, 29, of Des Plaines, knew the victim and his valuable collection. They say Chung relayed that information to two other men and led them to the man’s home in Wheeling, where they kicked in a door. The collector was tied up, choked, beaten and held at gunpoint. Two other men, Martrell Robinson, now 22, and Kristopher Muzzall, now 29, have already been charged in the case.
After Chung was arrested, he fled to Mexico where law enforcement agents eventually tracked him down teaching online English courses.
About 400 cards with a value of $150,000 and cash were stolen in the home invasion that took place in August of 2014.
Prosecutors say the items were inside a safe and that after several unsuccessful attempts to open it, the robbery became increasingly violent. Eventually the safe opened and the men took the cards and the cash. Robinson then stole the victim’s car and other personal items, threatening to kill him if he spoke about the incident. The three men left the home in that stolen car and went about the process of trying to sell what they took.
Some of the stolen cards were soon posted on eBay and others were sold to sports memorabilia shops in Illinois and Indiana. When investigators went to those stores, the owners identified Chung as the seller. He was arrested but later in 2014 a bond forfeiture warrant was issued after he didn’t show up for a court hearing. Law enforcement officers found him in Guadalajara, where he was teaching online classes.
According to the Daily Herald, Chung was ordered to pay $654 in fines, received credit for the time he’s spent in prison but must complete at least 85 percent of that 18-year sentence before he is eligible for parole.