An East Troy man who was bound over for trial on a charge of attempting to kill a Wauwatosa man had developed a long-planned plot, police said. But officers did not find the diguise he chose very convincing, and in fact felt that it helped quite a bit in putting a stop to the plot.
Police have released with-and-without photos of the defendant, and viewers may judge for themselves. The first police officer to encounter the defendant instantly noticed that he did not conform to the norm – he was wearing sunglasses after dark.
Daniel Plevak, 54, did not challenge the findings of the criminal complaint against him, which accuses him of setting out to murder an old friend who he had come to believe was a child sex offender. Police found no evidence that Plevak's intended victim had ever committed any such offense, and no witnesses have come forward with any allegations.
Milwaukee County Circuit Court Commissioner Barry Slage entered a not guilty plea last Wednesday on Plevak's behalf prior to his upcoming arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11. At that time, Plevak will enter his own plea.
According to the complaint, a citizen called police to say that a yellow Penske rental truck was slowly circling the neighborhood and had passed his house on West Argonne Drive half a dozen times.
When a patrol officer pulled Plevak over at the wheel of the truck shortly after 5 p.m., he was wearing sunglasses after dark, a long, clurly black wig, and a fake mustache. He was also wearing a bulky parka with a homemade holster underneath it.
In the truck, officers found a loaded .22-caliber semi-automatic with a round in the chamber and a full clip of 10 more rounds. They also found a fake arm made of taped rolls of bubble wrap with a glove attached. Detectives deduced that he intended to stuff the arm into the sleeve of his parka so as to give the appearance he had nothing in his hand, while having his real arm free underneath and ready to draw on his intended victim.
A wealth of other evidence, including handbills Plevak had made up naming and picturing his intended victim, led police to unravel a long and involved plot that they believe would have led to a shooting confrontation that evening.
The intended victim was longtime friend of Plevak's since college, and the evidence suggested to police that Plevak had become obsessed with the idea that the man had molested his daughter.
Plevak's daughter, however, made no such allegation but instead told police she believed her father was delusional and would have in fact killed the Wauwatosa man. Plevak's brother concurred, saying he was a very dangerous man.
Wauwatosa police and an assistant district attorney concluded that Plevak was "on W. Argonne Drive waiting for his opportunity to kill" his old friend and that the facts "demonstrate unequivocally, under all of the circumstances, that he had formed that intent and would commit the crime except for the intervention of the Wauwatosa Police Officers."
Plevak is also charged with being a felon in possession of a handgun, having been convicted in 1980 on two counts of battery of a police officer. As such, he would never be allowed to own, possess or use a firearm.
The attempted homicide charge carries a penalty of up to 60 years in prison plus five more for the use of a dangerous weapon, if Plevak is convicted. A conviction on the separate weapons charge would add 10 more years if the sentences were to be served consecutively.