Wardell Helmstetter is charged with aggravated burglary, according to court records, as well as third-offense possession of marijuana and two outstanding warrants for violation of protective orders.
In the home-invasion, five men forced their way into the elderly victim’s home in the 2700 block of South Liberty, held him at gunpoint and searched the house until he let them into his safe, police said at the time.
A subsequent search warrant at Helmstetter’s home by Sixth District investigators turned up several rings and other jewelry taken from the victim, according to a police report. Investigators also found marijuana at Helmstetter’s home, the report states.
In September 1993, Helmstetter was one of four men charged with attempted second-degree murder in what federal prosecutors described as an ambush of a rival gang member who had previously testified against members of the “Metz gang,” according to court records and media accounts from the time. The victim survived, and Helmstetter and the others were all acquitted after friends and relatives backed up their alibis in court, records show.
During his arrest in that case, however, investigators found a gun in his home and Helmstetter was later convicted of federal gun charges, court documents show. He also has a lengthy record of arrests on drug charges related to heroin, cocaine and marijuana, according to court records.