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Police Reports: Briggs Believes Hacked-Off Ex-Employee Hacked Global Systems

But the company doesn't want police to pursue an investigation, now that the man again is in a position to compromise its security.

Many of us have met the brilliant but twitchy co-worker who just doesn't work and play well with others.

Managers of security and information technology at Briggs & Stratton, headquartered at 3300 N. 124th St., reported to Wauwatosa Police on Wednesday that the international small-engine company’s computer systems had been hacked and then repeatedly sabotaged over the past couple of months, and they suspected a former IT employee.

They said that a few days after the man quit under less than amicable circumstances, Briggs’ worldwide e-mail system shut down, according to the report. After about a dozen more instances in which global systems crashed, sometimes for as long as three days, they eventually found a secret computer account from which all Briggs systems could be accessed.

Encrypted passwords they discovered led them to suspect the disgruntled ex-employee, who had left after being denied a promotion and showing "interpersonal skills" that had been found... lacking, the report said.

After the account was disabled, the system crashes stopped.

The company officials said they did not want police to pursue any criminal investigation at this time — they just wanted it on the record. They told police that the former employee now works for a firm in Waukesha County with which Briggs shares security firewalls.

In other recent incidents:

Wednesday

At 4:23 p.m., a 20-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for theft and trespassing at Gymboree in Mayfair Mall after she set off a security alarm as she was leaving. She had two foil-lined bags with merchandise taken from Buckle, Wet Seal and Abercrombie Kids, together worth $317 retail. She had three prior convictions for retail theft and had been banned from the mall through 2017. Police noted they were unable to take a statement from the woman because she had an infant in a stroller with her who cried loudly and incessantly throughout the booking.

An employee of Belfor Co., 2929 N. 114th St., reported that a semi-trailer tractor truck left on the company’s lot over the weekend was probably a stolen vehicle. Police ran a check and learned that it had been stolen in Rochelle, Ill., and belonged to a company in Mason, Ohio.

Tuesday

The family of an 89-year-old woman living at Luther Manor, 4545 N. 92nd St., reported that her diamond-set gold wedding ring had been stolen.

Monday

At 10:24 a.m., a 26-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for theft and violating probation after police found two pairs of jeans from the Buckle store in Mayfair Mall rolled up and stuffed in her purse. She had been seen concealing them and the officer was waiting for her at the door. She was found to be on probation for a 2010 conviction for battery.

A 17-year-old Wauwatosa boy was cited for habitual truancy for the third time from Wauwatosa West High School after missing 16 full days of school this semester. The boy told police that he simply does not want to go to school at West. He had been cited for truancy in November 2010 and again in January 2012.

Sunday

At 6:41 p.m., a couple living in an apartment in the 1000 block of North 115th Street reported that their residence had been burglarized some time since 7 p.m. Friday. They had returned from a weekend out of town to find a screen cut out and their bedroom window wide open. They were missing a wide variety of property from every room, including jewelry, a laptop computer, video game systems and accessories, a sound projector, a Packers jersey, a pair of Nike Air Force shoes, and a laundry basket – presumably used to carry off the other goods.

Last Saturday

The manager of the Cousin’s Subs shop at 12325 W. Burleigh St. reported the theft of the flush valve last Saturday from the men’s restroom urinal and said he thought he had a suspect. He said he had used the restroom at about 11 a.m. and was notified that the $300 valve was gone at around 1:30 p.m. He remembered a man coming in about 12:30 who was wearing a backpack and who had gone straight to the restroom and never come to the counter. Police are investigating the theft as related to the theft of a toilet valve on Sept. 28 from the Taco Bell at 510 N. Mayfair Rd.

At 4:14 p.m., a 26-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested at Mayfair Mall after she was detained at the Baby Gap store, where she had been seen ripping the security sensors off clothing and stuffing the items in her purse. Besides four articles worth about $135 from Baby Gap, she had 20 pieces of jewelry stolen from Forever 21 (about $120 worth) and five pieces of jewelry from Claire’s (about $70 worth), plus some merchandise taken at Bayshore Mall that was not recorded. Neither Forever 21 nor Claire’s cared to pursue prosecution, so the woman was booked for a single count of retail theft with $303 bail. She was escorted from the mall and released.

At 3:15 p.m., a 20-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for theft at Boston Store in Mayfair Mall after she tried to walk out of the store with about $150 worth of clothing. She had been considered suspicious and was watched taking items in and out of dressing rooms. But she was not actually seen taking anything and would not have been stopped, except that she then picked up a sweatshirt, draped it over her arm and walked out of the store without even making an attempt to hide it. When she was searched, a stolen hat and dress were found in her purse. She was found to have four prior arrests for retail theft and two outstanding warrants for the same charge, so she was booked on state criminal charges and ordered to appear in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Oct. 11.

At 1:35 p.m. Saturday, a 19-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested at Macy’s in Mayfair Mall after she was seen piling clothing into a stroller and trying to leave without paying for any of it. She arrived at the store with her two daughters, one a 6-year-old at her side and her 1-year-old in the stroller, and began to collect articles of clothing. Some she took into a fitting room, bagged them and stuffed them in the stroller; others she simply picked up as she walked along. A loss prevention officer observed all this and alerted his manager, who stopped the woman as she was leaving. The manager recognized her as a former Macy’s employee who had been fired for stealing from the store in December. The suspect had 12 shirts, seven pairs of children’s jeans, and two pairs of socks, together worth more than $400 retail. She told police her older daughter needed school clothes and that she doesn’t get enough hours at her job working for a cleaning service to afford them. She was cited, with bail set at $681, and released.

Obscene graffiti was found on a wall at Jefferson Elementary School, and the custodian said it had appeared overnight. He said he would review video surveillance footage and provide any evidence to police. The graffiti was photographed and then removed. At the same time the incident was being investigated, a resident of the 7400 block of Watson Ave. called to say that he had found a spray paint can in his back yard. Police recovered it and confirmed that the turquoise blue “Sabotaz 80” spray paint matched that used on the school wall.

Sept. 28

At 6:25 p.m., a 19-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for theft at Best Buy Mobile in Mayfair Mall after he and an unknown accomplice stole an iPad. He had approached a clerk with his companion and applied for a credit account to buy a new iPad. The clerk handed him the iPad and then went about the credit check, which was denied. In the meantime, the suspect managed to slip the iPad off the counter and onto a bench in front of it, where the accomplice picked it up – all of which was seen on video. The accomplice got away with the merchandise, but the 19-year-old was arrested based on the video evidence. He was found to be on probation for burglary and has an extensive criminal history including more burglaries, robbery, battery, escape and theft. He was sent to jail. His case was reviewed Sunday, but an assistant district attorney said that while she was inclined to charge the suspect with something, she thought the police needed more evidence and suggested they get a warrant to search the man’s phone, as he was seen in the video texting during the transaction.

Police are seeking a known 47-year-old Palmyra man with a long history of contractor fraud and theft and issuing worthless checks, after a manager at Sherwin Williams, 12132 W. Capitol Dr., said she wanted help tracking down a paint sprayer rented to the man in June and never returned.

A resident of the 7500 block of Watson Avenue reported that someone broke into his home and stole a television set during the night, and he named a suspect. The victim, 37, said he was alone in his mother’s house when he was awakened at 1:30 a.m. by a car with a loud muffler in the driveway. Too afraid to even look out the window or call police, he cowered in his room while listening to the sounds of his mother’s home being broken into and rifled. He said he distinctly heard the voice of a male relative whom his mother had evicted not long before for stealing.

Sept. 27

A resident of The Reserve apartments, 6100 W. State St., reported that between 6 and 7:40 p.m., someone tried to break into her apartment by punching out the deadbolt. Damage to the door and bolt was estimated at $200 but no entry was gained.

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