A 42-year-old Milwaukee man is accused of stealing a truckload of property from a garage at a Wauwatosa duplex while employed by a contractor to paint the house.
Benjamin Flores was charged Friday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court with one count of theft of more than $2,500. If convicted, he faces up to 1½ years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
According to police reports and the criminal complaint:
On Monday morning, a renter in the duplex in the 2200 block of North 68th Street was staying home from work, not feeling well, and some contract workers hired by her landlord were painting the house.
Around 11 a.m., she noticed that most of the workers had left, and a short time later she heard the doorbell ring. She didn’t answer the door, but saw Flores outside, walking toward the garage.
She then saw Flores open the garage door, back his pickup truck inside and close the door. The woman told police she went outside to see what was going on, and when she opened the garage door, she saw Flores loading property belonging to her duplex neighbor and the landlord into his truck.
The woman told him to stop and put the stuff back in the garage, but Flores took a couple of steps toward her, which she regarded as menacing, and she backed off. Flores then got into his truck and drove off, nearly hitting the woman as he left, she told police.
The woman called Wauwatosa police and estimated about $2,600 worth of items were missing. The stolen property included two bicycles and a set of six chairs and a table belonging to her neighbor, and a snow blower and lawn mower belonging to the landlord.
The contractor was contacted, and he identified the suspect as Flores, saying that he had just fired him because he had been accused of stealing from other job sites.
Flores is currently being held in Milwaukee County Jail while awaiting trial. Police reports available at the time did not say how Flores was found and arrested.