Police Search For Registered Sex Offender, Who Changed Identity, Became Restaurant Owner

Bernie Tafoya
August 06, 2019 - 11:59 am
Carmen Leato (2005)

IL Sex Offender Registry


CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Police in south suburban Thornton are looking for a former restaurant owner who allegedly opened his businesses using a phony name to cover his shady past. 

Thornton Police Chief Glenn Beckman said 49-year-old convicted child sex offender Carmen Leato opened Shelly’s Pancake House five or six months ago and told the village his name was Raul Castanada.

"About month ago, he opened a second business in our town called Mangia Tutto’s. And, while he was there, an employee and him had a dispute over pay," Chief Beckman said.

That’s when police were called in and started digging into "Castanada's" past after some of the information he provided wasn't adding up.

Chief Beckman said about that same time, "some other police agencies started notifying us that he was passing bad checks in their community, usually for kitchen supplies."

The chief said that on Friday, one of the restaurants had been closed, ostensibly for a water issue. By Monday, he said, the other eatery was closed as well.

According to Thorton Police, Shelly’s Pancake House and Mangia Tutto have been stripped of all equipment and will no longer be operational. 

Chief Beckman said police are also looking for Leato's wife, Michelle Leato for alleged fraud. He said Leato is tagged as possibly "armed and dangerous." It is believed that both Carmen Leato and his wife, Michelle Leato have permanently fled the area. 

“This is not the first time that Carmen Leato and Michelle Leato have used restaurants as a front to commit fraud to deceive public officials and citizens,” Thornton police stated in a Facebook post.

The Illinois Sex Offender Registry said Leato was 22 when he sexually abused an 11-year-old girl. The Tennessee Sex Offender Registry lists an offense connected to Leato from when he was 16-years old. 

The Illinois registry said Leato is wanted for failure to report change of address, failure to report a change of address/employment, failure to report weekly/no fixed address and criminal sexual assault.

Police said Leato has multiple active arrest warrants.

"If you observe Carmen Leato out in public, or may know the whereabouts of Carmen Leato or his wife, Michelle Leato, display great caution and call 911 immediately. He is considered to be armed and dangerous and a threat to the public. Both subjects are under investigation for multiple fraud/theft offenses," Thornton police stated in a Facebook post.

Anonymous tips can be accepted at the Thornton Police Department 708-877-4440.