The enjoyed a remarkable string of success in July, catching and through combinations of good field organization and training – and a bit of luck – that put them at just the right places at the right times.
In two more recent incidents, alertness and coordination with local businesses again put police officers in position to be waiting for thieves at the door.
Unfortunately, in one case, a fleet-footed crook challenged an officer to a race and won, escaping when the officer pulled up lame with a strained hamstring.
A judicious call puts officer at the ready, but...
At 9:54 a.m. Saturday, police were called to , 6700 W. State St., on a report of a theft in progress, and an officer arrived just as the suspect was leaving the store.
But he bolted when he saw the officer, and escaped after a brief pursuit in which the officer pulled a hamstring.
A store security officer said he had seen the man piling dozens of packages of personal care items into a bag inside a shopping cart in the Health and Beauty aisle. Assuming the man was intent on stealing the merchandise, he called police and then followed the man toward the doors.
He grabbed the handle of the cart as the man exited, and the suspect abandoned the cart and ran.
The Wauwatosa officer was already there and waiting, but when the suspect saw him he took off running past and around restaurant and then into the drive to just to the north of the stores.
The officer reported that he last saw the man clambering over a chain-link fence surrounding the apartments just after he came up hobbled.
Several police squads set up a perimeter, and a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department dog was brought in, but the suspect could not be found.
He was described as white, with a darker complexion, 24 to 28 years old, 5-feet-10-inches to 5-feet-11-inches tall, weighing 160 to 170 pounds, with brown hair and a tattoo on his right arm. He was wearing blue jeans, a dark blue T-shirt and sandals.
The Sentry officer later called police back to say that after reviewing the incident and surveillance photos with his counterparts at , 6950 W. State St., he believes the suspect to be a known 29-year-old Milwaukee man. Police were seeking the man for questioning.
Recovered in the attempted theft was about $250 worth of deodorant, shampoo, razors and the like.
Hunch that crime is in the offing proves correct
Things ended better in an incident at in which an officer's intuition led him to stake out a car in anticipation of a theft.
At 8:35 p.m. Friday, a 25-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for retail theft in the mall parking lot by a Wauwatosa officer who had her number before she even committed the crime.
He was patrolling the lower parking lot and ran a standard records check on a 2011 Dodge Charger parked with all the windows down.
It turned out the registration was suspended for unpaid parking tickets, so he ran further checks. The owner had numerous arrests for retail theft and credit card fraud.
The officer then assumed a vantage point to watch the car while he called Boston Store security. The woman had been arrested at the Mayfair Store and others and was banned for life from all Boston Stores, he was told.
As they were speaking, two women walked out of Boston Store and went to the Dodge, one of them matching the known suspect’s description. Because of the suspended registration and the ban – which meant she was trespassing – he had cause to stop them.
The owner of the Dodge had a foil- and duct tape-lined bag containing an watch with the anti-theft sensor still attached.