Two Joliet men had almost entirely filled their car with copper piping from a house belonging to the city of Joliet when police caught them mid-burglary at about 4 a.m. Thursday, Police Chief Mike Trafton said.
A neighbor alerted police to the break-in and officers surrounded the house at 208 Mound, just off Richards Street on the city's near East Side.
When the two men -- Anthony Edwards, 22, 407 Mills Road, and Calvin J. Thompson, 29, 1009 Magnolia -- refused to comply with Joliet police demands that they surrender and come out, officers were forced to go in after them, Trafton said.
One suspect was found hiding in a basement crawl space and the other was in a closet, he said.
When in custody, the pair confessed to the crime, admitting they'd "f---ed up," the chief said.
Both were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and criminal damage to property. They're are being held in the Will County jail; information on their bond was not available.
Jail records show Edwards has had previous run-ins with the law, including two arrests in 2010 (one for burglary and retail theft and the other for destroying evidence) and two in 2009 (the first for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and the other for burglary).
As for the house, it is being rehabbed through the city's Neighborhood Services office, which will sell it when the work is complete. The city attempts to stabilize neighborhoods by selling houses to people who will reside in them rather than rent them out to tenants who let them run down.