An alert East Tosa couple essentially joined the police force for awhile Monday, calling in two suspicious chararacters, then staying on the phone to describe a burglary in progress, and even photographing the suspects in the act – and e-mailing the evidence to police as they all fought crime in real time.
A man and wife who live in the 2400 block of North 62nd Street were in their front room at about 12:30 p.m. Monday when they saw two men approach the home of a neighbor across the street. As they watched, one of the men stayed at the sidewalk while the other walked up to the home and rang the doorbell.
After a bit, both men hurried away, and then another neighbor came along walking a dog – suggesting to the watchers that the two men didn't want to be seen hanging around.
Shortly, they came back, and this time, after looking around furtively, they walked to the back of the house.
That was enough for the watchful neighbors. The husband called Wauwatosa police and stayed on the line, describing moment-by-moment a burglary in progress, giving approaching officers a real-time picture of the incident unfolding.
The wife may have been the heroine – she stepped outside and photographed the burglars, then e-mailed her picture of them to the Wauwatosa police. That picture would clearly show the two suspects, whom police would soon apprehend as being at the scene and at the time, dressed accordingly.
Two Milwaukee men, one 20 and one 21, were arrested on suspicion of burglary after officers swarmed to the location and spotted the suspects outside the home.
But the suspects spotted them, too, and ran. A perimeter was quickly established around two blocks, and one man was quickly captured without incident.
The other, however, seemed to have disappeared from sight, so a thorough search was conducted. A sergeant found the suspect cowering inside a city garbage cart – and disinclined to leave it. It took two officers to pull him out.
At the scene of the intended burglary, police found that a basement window had been kicked in, but it appeared that the burglars hadn’t even gotten inside before they fled.
The 21-year-old suspect was found to be on probation for felony larceny and so was immediately jailed after questioning and booking on the attempted burglary.
The two men swore they were just passing innocently through the neighborhood, but the photograph sent to Wauwatosa police by the woman across the street showed that the two men in it perfectly matched the dress of the two men taken into custody.
Unfortunately, at their distance, neither the husband or wife could positively identify either of the suspects in photo lineups. Although Wauwatosa police sought charges against the two men, an assistant district attorney deferred charges until a State Crime Lab report could match shoe prints found in the back yard of the victim's home to the shoes the suspects were wearing.