DUMB CROOKS: Offered Free Pass, Thieves Opt for Possibilty of Prison
If you're caught stealing stuff, and somebody says you can go free if you'll just hand it over, you probably should – especially if you have a carload of stolen property.
They could'a, they should'a. They didn't.
Two Milwaukeeans turned down a chance to get away free, and instead are both facing possible felony charges after what might have been simple a matter of handing back some shoplifted goods at Mayfair Mall.
Told they could leave if they would simply hand back a few items stolen from a Mayfair store, two men who had a car chock full of stolen property managed to expose themselves to prison sentences.
At 8:45 p.m. Thursday, two Milwaukee men, ages 27 and 22, were arrested after fleeing from Mayfair Mall with almost $2,500 worth of stolen merchandise from a dozen different stores.
How foolish were they?
According to police reports:
The two set off audible alarms as they entered the Abercrombie & Fitch store in the mall while carrying large bags from other stores, cueing the manager that they were already in possession of stolen merchandise.
One of the men later told police that he heard the alarm.
Nevertheless, while being watched closely, they stayed, they browsed briefly, and then the older suspect began to stuff store clothing into his bag. When an employee directly confronted him about it, both men left the store without paying for the goods.
The manager followed them to the parking lot, where he asked for his merchandise back, saying he would not call police if they would just hand it over.
The older suspect at first denied stealing anything, then tossed some clothing at the store manager.
Apparently, that attitude did not sit well with the manager, who quickly changed his mind about not seeking prosecution.
Both suspects got into their car and drove off, but the Abercrombie manager, miffed, called police.
An officer spotted the car on West Burleigh Street at Menomonee River Parkway and turned to follow. The driver tried to lose the officer by turning onto Colonial Drive and then led a brief circular chase through residential streets before stopping in the the 3100 block of Colonial.
The driver, the younger man, ran from the car and was caught in an alley a short distance away when his asthma condition overcame him. The older man stayed in the car and cooperated with arresting officers.
Inside the car was a hoard of clothing and jewelry, filling the back seat, most with price tags and security sensors still attached. Police also found two foil-lined bags and a nail puller (commonly used to defeat and remove sensors, respectively).
Both suspects gave false names and stuck to them until fingerprints revealed their true identities. Both would be cited with misdemeanor obstructing an officer for lying on that account.
But their self-imposed troubles were far from over.
The car belonged to the mother of the 27-year-old, so he was held on suspicion of possession of stolen property as well as felony theft (greater than $2,500).
The younger man, who had been driving, would celebrate his 23rd birthday in jail Friday after being arrested for receiving stolen property and felony eluding an officer, for fleeing both in the car and on foot.
Besides the merchandise from Abercrombie & Fitch at Mayfair, the suspects helped police identify items stolen from an unnamed store in Atlanta, plus items from:
- Champs, at Mayfair
- American Eagle, Mayfair
- Victoria’s Secret, Bayshore (7 bras)
- Forever 21, Mayfair
- Buckle, Racine Outlet Mall
- New York City & Co., Southridge Mall
- Abercrombie & Fitch, Chicago
- H&M, Mayfair
- Baby Gap, Racine Outlet Mall
- Gymboree, Bayshore Mall
Officers pegged the value of all the merchandise that could be identified as stolen at $2,464.36 – just under the $2,500 limit for a felony theft charge.
However, because the 27-year-old admitted in a statement that he sells stolen merchandise as his major source of income, the $569 cash he had in his wallet was confiscated and tacked on, too, earning the felony count.
The 22-year-old had $488 cash, which was also confiscated. As a final gesture, police issued him a municipal traffic citation for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.