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Joking About Being A 'Serial Killer' Gets Man Fired, Arrested

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (STMW) -- At what point, exactly, does gallows humor go beyond the pale? Michael M. Romanenko might know.

The 42-year-old South Elgin man lost his job as an Internet technician and is facing trial, after allegedly boasting to two Naperville women that he's a serial killer, the Naperville Sun is reporting.

Romanenko is free on bond and scheduled to appear Tuesday in Wheaton Field Court, charged with two counts of disorderly conduct/breach of peace, according to court records.

A Naperville police report showed Romanenko was arrested following an Oct. 10 incident at a woman's home. Her address had been redacted.

The 32-year-old homeowner and a 23-year-old neighbor told police Romanenko came to the older woman's home for a maintenance appointment.

At one point, he called out in Russian to the homeowner's dog, the report stated. The homeowner, "who is fluent in Russian, was very surprised at (Romanenko's) proficiency in speaking Russian, as he had no discernible Russian accent ..."

The report said he told the women he was born in the United States and learned Russian from his immigrant parents. He said while he was in school, "other children used to pick on him for his Russian heritage and language."

He said "this was the reason he became a serial killer," according to the report.

"He explained to (the women) that, as a technician, it's easy to get into people's houses. He knocks on the front door, and when the resident goes to the front door, he goes around to the back door, gains entry to the house, takes a knife and meets the resident in the bedroom," the report continued.

The women told Romanenko "this was not funny" and "they were very disturbed by his story." The report showed Romanenko began collecting his gear and told them, "I'm going to see you again."

As Romanenko was leaving, "he turned, looked directly at (the women) and stated, 'See you ladies,'" the report read. "At no time did (Romanenko) indicate that he was joking, and he never apologized for his story."

The women went to the police station, where the homeowner said she was "scared to go home, and doesn't think she'll be able to get to sleep," the report said. The younger woman said she, too, was "very frightened by what (Romanenko) said."

"Both victims were extremely frightened and shaken," the report stated. "Both victims feel as if they were directly threatened by the technician."

The women identified Romanenko in separate photo line-ups and police learned he worked that day for Comcast as a contracted employee of American Cable & Telephone of Aurora, according to the report.

Romanenko "submitted a written statement (to supervisors) admitting to being a part of the conversation," but said "he was just discussing television shows," the report said. "He denied saying that he was a serial killer."

Romanenko was fired by ACT and surrendered Oct. 28 to police.

Court documents how he has no significant criminal record.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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