(CHICAGO) -- A top executive at a high-profile Chicago real estate firm is accused of shoplifting three designer neckties from Bloomingdale’s on Black Friday.
Michael J. Sato, 44, was charged with retail theft for allegedly stealing three Burberry ties from the Michigan Avenue department store. The ties sold for $145 each.
According to court documents, a store security guard said he watched Sato tuck two of the pricey ties into the pocket of his coat, and put a third into a shopping bag he was carrying. Sato then allegedly walked past the cash registers and was stopped in the exit vestibule by security.
Sato’s lawyer told the Chicago Sun-Times it was all a misunderstanding in the chaos of Black Friday’s shopping crush.
“It was just a mistake. It was busy,” defense attorney Jon Erickson said. “He had his kids with him, it was crowded.”
Erickson called Sato a “highly respected” member of the community who did not intend to take the merchandise.
According to his company’s website, Sato is a president of Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, and is one of “Chicago’s top producing realtors, with over $400 million career sales volume.”
At his court appearance, Erickson told the judge that Sato had no criminal record. Sato is scheduled to return to court next month. He was released on his own recognizance. Neither he nor his attorney returned phone calls Monday.
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