Fugitive Sex Offender Who Tried to Sexually Assault Chicago Man During Break-in May Be in SoCal: FBI

Joseph A. Kopacz is seen in an image posted to Illinois’ online sex offender registry.

Joseph A. Kopacz is seen in an image posted to Illinois’ online sex offender registry.

A registered sex offender on the lam after being convicted in a Chicago home invasion may be in or traveling to Southern California, federal officials said Thursday.

Joseph A. Kopacz, 54, was convicted in absentia after he fled in the middle of his trial, according to Laura Eimiller, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

He walked out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Nov. 8 and had not returned by the time his guilty verdict was read later that same day, Cook County sheriff’s officials told the Chicago Sun-Times.

At the time, Kopacz was free on $50,000 bond, but a no-bond warrant has since been issued for his arrest, the newspaper said.

During the October 2016 home invasion, a 23-year-old was asleep in his bedroom when Kopacz attempted to sexually assault him. The man was able to fight Kopacz off and apprehend the sex offender after he tried to run away, according to the Sun-Times.

Illinois’ online registry of sex offenders states that Kopacz was previously convicted in Cook County of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. The victim was 23 at the time, while Kopacz was 52.

Joseph A. Kopacz is seen in booking photos released Jan. 10, 2019, by the FBI.

Joseph A. Kopacz is seen in booking photos released Jan. 10, 2019, by the FBI.

Last month, authorities filed a federal unlawful flight to avoid confinement charge against Kopacz after establishing he had left Illinois, Eimiller said.

The FBI believes he’s corresponded with associates in Riverside County and could be traveling in Southern California.

The convict should be considered armed and dangerous, officials said.

A reward of up to $5,000 has been attached to information leading to his arrest.

Kopacz is described as a white man who measures 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs around 190 pounds. He has brown hair and eyes, as well as a scar on his lower right arm.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts can contact the Chicago FBI Field Office 312-421-6700.

Correction: An earlier version of this article gave the incorrect amount for the reward being offered in the case. The story has been updated.