Four Milwaukee teenagers, three of them 18 and one 19, were arrested Tuesday and were charged Friday in a home burglary in the Madison Park area, according to Wauwatosa police.
The neighborhood had been plagued for two weeks with similar burglaries, but police cautioned that the investigation of those crimes is continuing.
Police said that while final charging documents had not been filed, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office had signed off on charges against the four men Friday morning, three for burglary and one for possession of stolen property.
Those being charged are:
- Dimitric Quamain Smith, 18
- Donald Edward Franklin, 18
- Anthony M. Scott Jr., 19
- James Lee Burrell, 18
According to police reports:
At 12:27 p.m. Tuesday, police were dispatched to a burglary in process when a caller reported seeing two young men leaving a home in the 4700 block of North 100th Street with a television set and a large bag and loading them in the back of a car, then leaving with two more subjects in the car.
Police found the home thoroughly ransacked, as has been the case in earlier break-ins, with a window air conditioner yanked out to gain entry. Stolen were a 46-inch flatscreen TV and two laptop computers, one of them a white Mac Book.
One blue car leads to another
Meanwhile, officers were searching the area for a small blue car with a broken opera window on the passenger side, based on the witness' 911 call.
A detective in an unmarked car soon met up with a Milwaukee police officer who said he was searching for a blue Chevy Lumina used in a recent burglary.
The detective called that out to all squads, and, as luck would have it, another officer quickly reported that a few minutes earlier he had noted a blue Lumina parked in an apartment building lot at North 104th Street and West Hampton Avenue.
It was a trick of fate played out on the suspects.
When the detective arrived to investigate, he did see a blue Lumina, unoccupied in the lot. But there also was a small blue Pontiac Vibe there – with a broken passenger-side opera window.
There were two subjects in it and two – Smith and Franklin – standing near it, talking to an older man who was working on a truck.
As the detective pulled in, Smith ducked down and dropped something in the bushes. When the detective got out of his car, Smith and Franklin took off running, and the Vibe raced out of the parking lot.
Detective shows he's in shape
The ususal wild foot chase through neighborhood yards ensued, with the single Tosa officer keeping pace with both suspects but not able to overtake them.
After running a couple of blocks, he said, the two tried to hide in some bushes behind an apartment building, but he spotted them and ordered them out. Instead, they ran again, and again he chased.
With Smith and Franklin still in sight, the detective heard other squads arriving as he gave a literal running account over his radio. In moments, both suspects were on the ground, and moments after that, in handcuffs.
With the search again on for the blue Vibe, the detective radioed an address worth checking in the 10400 block of West Fairmount Avenue. He had a tip the place was being used as a "stash house" for stolen property.
Sure enough, there was the Vibe, and Milwaukee police had just pulled in, too.
K9 nose foiled for once in revolting basement
A woman opened the back door when police knocked and told them, when asked, that the two people they were looking for were in the basement.
It took three threats at the top of the stairs of releasing K9 Addy to put the bite on them before Scott emerged, but Burrell would not come out.
For once in his career, Addy could not find his man. There were two dogs in cages down there, the basement reeked of their urine, and dirty laundry was piled everywhere. In the fetid surroundings, Addy apparently could not sort out the scents.
No matter, an officer excavating the mess located Burrell – hiding in a massive pile of soiled laundry under the stairs.
The flat-screen TV and one of the laptops stolen just a little over half an hour earlier were found in the attic. The white Apple Mac Book was found in the bushes back at the first address, right where Franklin had been seen to drop something.
Wary neighbor kept close tabs on suspects
As detectives quickly pieced together their case, they knew that positive identifications putting at least Franklin and Smith at the Wauwatosa break-in would help. Otherwise they might be able to prove nothing better than receiving stolen property.
The eyewitness, a neighbor, gave an exactingly detailed description of the two – easy, because he had found one of them sitting on his front steps about noon and had asked him face to face what he was doing there.
He said the young man told him he was waiting for a ride, walked off briefly and then returned with another youth, coming out of his alley and then going out of view.
The man pulled a chair out on his porch to watch because he was suspicious of the two, and when he saw two more young men come down the street in a small blue station wagon and back into his neighbors' drive, he paid close attention.
When the first two suspects came out of the house with the TV and bag, he called police.
Asked to pick them out of a photo lineup, the watchful neighbor positively identified Smith as the one he had encountered on his front porch and Franklin as the companion who had joined him. He also was positive they were the ones carrying property out of the home. He even identified, from photos, the blue Vibe as the getaway car.
One suspect rolls over on the others
Of the four suspects, three offered police wildly improbable stories about one of the others just showing up with a "flattie" TV set he wanted to sell. But one confessed in exquisite detail to taking part in the burglary, and he implicated the others.
Because final charging documents had not yet been filed in court, it was not immediately known which three of the four were being charged with burglary and which one with stolen property.
Two were also facing bail-jumping charges.
A search of criminal records shows Smith was charged May 24 in Milwaukee County with two counts of felony receiving stolen property and July 30 in Oneida County with theft of movable property, a Class A misdemeanor.
Burrell was charged June 27 in Milwaukee County with endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, a Class A misdemeanor, for discharging a firearm in the North 104th Street apartment.
Wauwatosa police also said that the Milwaukee Police Department had gotten the DA to sign off on burglary charges against some or all of the four in two burglaries there.