Search on for ‘armed and dangerous’ sex offender in Thornton

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THORNTON, Ill. — Police are searching for a south suburban restaurant owner with a record as a violent child sex offender.

Carmen Leato, who police consider "armed and dangerous," owns Shelly's Pancake House and Mangia Tutto restaurants in Thornton. Police said he was operating under the fake name, "Raul Castanada," in order to stay in business. Both restaurants were stripped of all equipment and are no longer operational.

Leato is listed on the Illinois Sex Offender registry, and was convicted of sexual assault against an 11-year-old girl.

Police said there are multiple active warrants out for his arrest.

Police also believe Leato and his wife, Michelle Leato, permanently fled the area. They said this is not the first time the couple has used restaurants as a front to commit fraud by deceiving officials and citizens. They are both under investigation for multiple fraud and theft offenses.

Police asked if anyone sees Leato in public or knows about his or his wife's whereabouts to call them immediately.

The Thornton Police Department said anonymous tips will be accepted at 708-877-4440.

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