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Break-in, sex abuse suspect allegedly asked victim’s parents for a smoke

Hunter Best | Chicago Police

After breaking into a Lincoln Park apartment, an Indianapolis man walked into the bedroom of a sleeping 13-year-old girl and hugged and kissed her.

He then went into the bedroom where her girl’s parents were sleeping, woke them up and asked for a cigarette, Cook County prosecutors said at the man’s bond hearing on Tuesday.

The girl’s father “escorted” the 25-year-old Hunter Best out of the apartment in the 400 block of West Belden Avenue.

The girl’s father called police later that morning, after learning that Best had been in his daughter’s room, Assistant State’s Attorney Nancee Hofheimer said.

Best left the apartment and entered another building in the 500 block of West Grant place — fewer than two blocks away — and somehow entered another apartment. There, he headed to the bedroom of an 11-year-old girl, Assistant State’s Attorney Nancee Hofheimer said.

Best allegedly groped that girl, and when she began crying, he ran from the apartment.

Judge Stephanie Miller ordered Best held without bond on charges of home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal trespass to a residence.

Best was on probation for break-in dating back to his time as a student at Indiana University. He was charged with burglary in that out-of-state incident.

The facts of his case in Bloomington were similar, but less disturbing of his alleged break-ins in Lincoln Park, said Bob Miller, chief deputy of the Monroe County, Ind., Prosecutor’s office.

“What happened is, he got drunk out of his mind and went into someone’s residence that was not his own,” Miller said in a phone interview. “I think he was actually caught making himself a sandwich.”

Miller said there was “no hint of anything sexual” in Best’s break-in, and he appeared to have no felonious intent.

“That kind of took the burglary charge off the table,” Miller said, explaining the reduced charges that Best eventually pleaded to in April, a little more than a month before he allegedly entered the two Lincoln Park condos.

Best pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges and got a one-year suspended jail term, along with one year of probation. Miller said the Monroe County probation department had not yet alerted his office as to whether Best’s most recent arrest had violated conditions of his probation.

Miller said similar crimes are fairly common in the college town.

“This happens monthly, if not weekly,” he said. “People get drunk and wander into an apartment. They’re found raiding a fridge or sleeping on a couch.”

Here in Chicago, Best was identified by multiple witnesses based on his Indiana driver’s license photo. Surveillance video shows him walking through an alley near the apartments, Hofheimer said.

Best’s lawyer, Tom Leinenweber, had asked that his client be allowed to go free on bond, and said that he was not a threat if he received treatment for substance abuse and depression.

During both the illegal entry case and the recent incidents, Best was “intoxicated,” and in fact had no memory of what he did in the Indiana incident, Leinenweber said.

“This incident… and the prior incident were the result of intoxication,” Leinenweber said. “This person needs treatment, and if he receives treatment, I’m confident this behavior will cease.”