CHICAGO (STMW) - A president at a high-profile real estate firm is accused of shoplifting three ties from Michigan Avenue's Bloomingdale's on Black Friday, but his attorney said it was just a mistake because of the frenzy of holiday shopping.
A Bloomingdale's security guard said he saw Michael J. Sato place two Burberry ties in his coat picket and one in his shopping bag, and proceed out of the second floor of the store at 900 N. Michigan, to the ground level, past the point of payment, according to court documents.
The ties were valued at $145 each.
Sato, 44, is charged with retail theft. He is a president of Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 425 W. North Ave., according to his defense attorney, Jon Erickson.
"Mr. Sato is a highly respected member of the community and he certainly did not intend to" take the ties, Erickson said. "It was just a mistake. It was busy. He had his kids with him. It was crowded."
With the holiday shopping crush, it was a situation with "hands full; kids; loud," Erickson said. "And, I don't think he was outside the store [with the ties], either."
Sato, of the 3500 block of North Janssen, is "one of . . . .Chicago's top producing Realtors with over 400 million in career sales volume," according to his company's website.
When Sato appeared in court Saturday, Erickson told the Cook County judge his client has no criminal record, and that Sato graduated from Francis W. Parker School and Denison University.
Sato was released on his own recognizance and is to return to court next month.
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