On Parole, Out on Bail; Burglar Continues to Strike

By: Meghan Dwyer
By: Meghan Dwyer

A Rockford man has spent more than thirty years behind bars for burglarizing area businesses, but since he was released from prison Aug. 1 police say he's been involved in six more burglaries.

Law enforcement sees it all the time: the same people committing the same crimes and then being released from prison only to get locked back up. So where's the system failing?

James Mabrey has been breaking into businesses since 1986. A mere three weeks after being let out on parole the last time he allegedly broke into the Prairie State Brewhouse. A judge lowered his bail from 75 thousand dollars to five thousand dollars. So he only had to come up with 500 dollars and he could walk out of jail. Less than two weeks later police say he was involved in three more burglaries: a total of six since he was released from prison two months ago.

The last time Mabrey was arrested was last week for a burglary he allegedly committed on Aug. 20 at the Rockford Country Club. This time around his bail was set at 200-thousand dollars so he'd need 20 thousand dollars to get out. The department of corrections actually put on a hold on him this time so even if he does post bond he won't be able to get out of jail.

She's an attorney reporting the news in Rockford, 23 News Criminal Justice Reporter Meghan Dwyer investigates this bizzare story to find out where the system failed, Monday on 23 News.


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  • by Anonymous Location: Rockford on Oct 7, 2011 at 04:43 AM
    @ Brian - I would repost at your comment but WIFR has no solid policy on posting. If they dont like it they wont put it up. Politically driven specific to whoever wants to review. What a JOKE. Must be libtards in charge of the station.
    • reply
      by Dan Stone on Oct 7, 2011 at 08:19 PM in reply to
      It's not nice to name call. We do have a policy, but we only post it as a sidebar to stories that have a lot of controversial comments (hundreds). Usually it's not a problem. Due to technical limitations within our network, we can't edit the terms of service on a by-station basis. The rules are as follows: WIFR Commenting Policy Reminder: 1. You must be 13 years of age or older 2. No profanity, vulgarity, or obscenity will be allowed in comments. We can’t legally censor words in comments so the comment will have to be deleted. 3. No attacking other posters. You can disagree and argue, but personal attacks are not allowed. 4. No typing in all CAPS. This is considered yelling in web-etiquette and can be considered a personal attack. 5. Comments must be related to the story. If you criticize someone not directly related to the story your comment will be deleted. 6. You must include your e-mail address if you are posting information about the story not mentioned in the story. You will be responsible for the factual accuracy of the information under U.S. Libel Law. 7. Any comment determined to be racist will be deleted.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 8, 2011 at 05:27 AM in reply to Dan Stone
        A great lesson in spin and politics 101 from a station running opinion through a bias machine.
  • by Anonymous Location: Rockford on Oct 6, 2011 at 09:30 AM
    @Brian - You are one of the uninformed. 38 years ago the system was crap. Trampled on the rights of children. Took a parent at their word. poor due process. Take a child throw them in juvenile when they commit no crime. Have them deemed "a child in need of supervision" ( never knew a child that did not need supervision) cram them in Roescrance (back then an abusive environment), move them to durand farm school for boys (a violent environment back them) shuffle them around to foster homes, have a parent that again takes interest for a minute ( to interupt their 10 year love affair with Vodka) and you get what you get. You get a kid the system groomed to be a crook. Man up? Really. I manned up to a system that was designed to keep me inside forever until the day I die. I am here, still standing, providing jobs in this very community. You are a shallow, uneducated, uniformed person. God help any child that would have you as a dad. They would probably end up like me.
  • by Laverne Location: Rockford on Oct 4, 2011 at 01:08 PM
    While I feel sorry for this guy, I feel HE also has some responsibility to change his life. We cannot take everyone by the hand and lead them through life. At some point they must decide right from wrong.
  • by Anonymous Location: Rockford on Oct 4, 2011 at 05:26 AM
    I know this man. While I certainly do not condone what he is done the news never tells the full story. Broken home, no parents that cared, misled in the wrong neighborhood by the wrong people, no breaks from the legal system and certainly no rehabilitation in jail. I know because I managed to get my life squared away after my father dropped me off like a piece of trash at the juvenile center in Rockford Illinois when I was 12 because he did not want me. In and trouble with the law but I am here productive and certainly one of the lucky ones. Folks lets tell it like is. There is no help in the system and if you get straight its only because of what you yourself have done. They have a lot of people polishing chairs providing this so called help and invisible rehabilitation. The smile aqt the people that walk before them while they loath and despise you on the inside. How the heck can people that operate in that manner help anyone? The guy was in a boys home at 12 just like me because his parents did not want him. So Ill give you the scoop since WIFR only scratches the surface of most stories. Again I do not condone but knowing the road of this mans life I feel a bit sorry for him. They shoved him out the front door of a prison, gave him a hundred bucks and await his return. What sort of system is that?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Oct 4, 2011 at 05:28 PM in reply to
      please do not make excusses for someone's actions he is resposable and jim alone!! iam so sick of ppl like you making the thugs out to be a victim of society !! iam glad u pulled ur head out and straightend out your life but this guy and others like him have had many chances they just have not chosen to take them
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Oct 5, 2011 at 05:35 AM in reply to
        I make no excuses. I simply point out a failing system. It would cost tax payers less money in the long run to help people get squared away rather than await the return to prison. I also will point out to you again going back 25 years. There is no help in the system for anyone even if they want it. Its ridden with gangs, crooks and in many instances depending on what prison you end up in about half the staff are gang related. Jim is responsible because he was pushed out the front door of a prison, dropped in the middle of Rockford with 100 bucks and no place to go? You know thats how it happens. He went back to doing the only thing he knows. For the record the only place my head was, was where the system put it. I was locked up as a juvenile after commiting NO CRIME. My parents did not want me. So you tell me who put my head where. The system took me a perfectly good 12 year old kid and turned me into a crook by the time I was 15.
        • reply
          by Brian W. on Oct 6, 2011 at 08:37 AM in reply to
          blah blah blah, blame the system, blame it on your parents didnt want me, blame everybody but the person responsible, YOU. There were foster homes and parents that you could have put with. You just took, what you thought would be the easy road. Im sick of people putting the blame on everybody else. Man up and take responsibilities for your actions. I was put into a foster home when i was growing up because of the decisions that the woman who gave birth to me made, and i am a productive member of society plus a military veteran. I could have taken the low road, but i didnt. You know why, because i was a man and worked for everything that i have.
    • reply
      by Society member on Oct 8, 2011 at 10:03 PM in reply to
      Dear Anonymous, to say you know this man is a bold faced lie, he WAS NOT put in a boys home when he was 12, he lived with his father and stepmother until he went away to college. He was involved with drugs as a teenager, which continues to this day. While in college, he lost a full ride scholorship for drugs, had a bad relationship and marriage right after, then went into the Navy to change his life. He never kicked the drug habit, getting booted from the Navy for "Less than honorable." Spiraling from there, he got involved with a few bad eggs (dealers) and was heavy into drug use. He used his burglary lifestyle to feed his drug addiction, returning to prison multiple times. He not only hurt himself, he hurt and stole from family and friends as well. To say you know him is bogus, don't compare him to yourself, everyone handles adversity differently. He never gave himself a chance, I should know, I am one of his older brothers.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 3, 2011 at 10:43 PM
    wow .. isnt it just great !!
  • by Big Bopper Location: West End on Oct 3, 2011 at 09:03 PM
    Let's make an educated vote when it comes time to vote for judges and states attorney and others that control the disposition of this sort of SCUM
  • by Christopher Location: Rockford on Sep 30, 2011 at 01:27 AM
    Illinois Resident, you are correct about the electric monitorin being totally ineffective. But it sounds like you have absolutely no idea how the system actually works. There is no "monitor" that "buzzes," and there is no "police headquarters." There is a 1-800 number that parolees have to call to "check in," but that is about it. IDOC/Parole uses Rockford PD to check on their parolees for them because IDOC/Parole doesnt have enough manpower.....as if the Rockford PD does.
  • by Illinois Resident Location: Rockford on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:55 PM
    The term "electronic monitoring" is a total misnomer. So when the monitor at police HQ buzzes, someone says "hey, that guy's out walking around again". And nothing is done. That's how it happens. People aren't doing the job they were hired to do and are getting paid to do. The monitors need a GPS in them. Ankle monitors apparently are a totally ineffective way of keeping track of criminals.
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