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Man arrested for Gold Coast apartment scam

June 10, 2013|By Rachel Cromidas, @rachelcromidas | RedEye

Would you rent a Gold Coast studio apartment for $850 a month?

That's how much a handful of suburbanites in their early twenties offered to pay a man to rent a third-floor unit in a townhome on East Bellevue Place after seeing his Craigslist ad, according to police officials.

The only problem: the unit didn't belong to him.

Steve Kozaczka, 25, of Des Plaines, Ill., was arrested Saturday evening and charged with two counts of theft after allegedly taking money from at least five people from several Chicago suburbs.

Kozaczka accepted $850 to cover their first month's rent in the apartment, and $60 for a background and credit check, from five different people between June 6 and June 8, according to the police report.

The apartment, on the third-floor of a tony four-story walk-up less than a mile from the lake, is available fully-furnished for short-term rentals through an apartment leasing site. No one from the site was available to comment on the incident.

According to Domu, a local apartment listing website, studios in the Gold Coast rent for about $1,200 a month, on average.

Kozaczka appeared at the Cook Country Criminal Courthouse Monday afternoon and his bond was set at $30,000.

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