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Tosa Man Says Burglar Pulled Knife on Him; Suspect in Custody

Wauwatosa police seek charges against West Allis man who was captured later the same day in the act of a burglary in Greenfield.

A West Allis man is in custody and likely will be charged Friday or Saturday with at least two counts of burglary, one in Greenfield and one in Wauwatosa, and possibly with one count of armed robbery in the Wauwatosa case.

say the victim has positively identified him as the man who pulled a knife on him when the suspect awakened him during a break-in.

Wauwatosa police were able to identify him as a strong suspect within hours, and by nightfall learned that he had been arrested in Greenfield during a burglary investigation there.

According to reports from both departments:

Wauwatosa police were called at 6:45 a.m. Wednesday to an apartment in the 12200 block of Blue Mound Road by a man who said there was a knife-wielding burglar outside his bedroom door.

When police arrived, they found the victim on his roof, having climbed out his bedroom window for safety.

He told them he had been awakened by the sound of his bedroom doorknob being “jiggled,” but thought it was his roommate and didn’t respond. Then he heard creaking floorboards, but thought it was the neighbor upstairs.

Finally, he got up, believing there was someone outside his room, and opened his door to find a heavy-set man with his back to him, just feet away and rifling his hall closet.

The resident asked, “What are you doing?” and then yelled, “Get out!’”

He said the stranger turned around slowly to face him, reaching into his pocket at the same time. He then pulled out a folding knife, opened it and stepped toward the victim.

The resident said he quickly shut and locked his bedroom door and immediately called 911. He waited quietly for a minute, hearing creaking noises, which soon subsided. He climbed out his window when he saw police arrive, not knowing whether the burglar was still inside his apartment.

Police cleared the apartment and the building and searched the area but couldn’t find the suspect. They then toured the apartment with the renter, and he found he was missing two video game systems, an X-Box 360 and a Play Station 3, along with their controllers and about 50 games.

The man’s roommate, who was the owner of the X-Box, was not home at the time, so he was called back to the apartment.

Stolen property surfaces soon

At 9:45 a.m., while still at the apartment conducting their investigation of the crime scene and interviews with the victims, officers were alerted by a police clerk that she had just run a serial number on a PS3 game system just sold to Radio Head, 7045 W. Greenfield Ave. The system had already come up as stolen that morning in the burglary.

The seller at Radio Head gave police a photocopy of the seller’s driver’s license and described him, and both matched the victim’s description.

Armed with that evidence, they showed the victim a photo array including the suspect, and he positively identified him.

After seeking the West Allis man throughout the day without success — he had vacated an apartment there and moved on — the Tosa police put out a teletype alert to area law enforcement departments and by 5:30 p.m. had a temporary warrant for his arrest.

At 9:27 p.m., Greenfield police took the man into custody in a burglary there. The suspect was found to be carrying a folding knife like the one the Wauwatosa victim described, they said.

Off-duty officer dogged burglary suspect

According to the Greenfield police, an off-duty police officer from another jurisdiction happened to spot the suspect walking through an apartment complex and thought he looked suspicious. When the man slipped behind the building, the officer followed and saw a backpack sitting directly beneath a window. Peeking in, he saw the man burglarizing the apartment and retreated briefly to call Greenfield police.

He then waited and followed the man after he left the apartment, relaying the suspect’s location to police. Eventually, he identified himself and told the suspect to halt. He ran, and was captured a short time later.

Besides the knife, he was found to have a full heroin rig and extra syringes.

After Greenfield police completed their investigation, they turned him over to Wauwatosa at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

Charges being sought

Wauwatosa police were preparing Friday morning to forward a request for charging to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office on counts of armed robbery and burglary.

They also are seeking a charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud – the man was also the known suspect in an attempt to pass a phony prescription for Oxycodone at CVS Pharmacy in Wauwatosa on June 18.

Capt. Jeff Sutter said Friday he was doubtful that the DA would accept the armed robbery charge the department was seeking.

jbw June 30, 2012 at 08:00 AM
It's good that they apprehended him without anyone getting hurt. A heroin addict looking for things to steal for more drugs? How does that work out around here nowadays? I mean does anyone do anything to address the addiction or just detain and release him after a certain period of time? I know they can't force people to straighten up, or fix some of the problems that lead to addiction in the first place, just curious.
Jim Price June 30, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Hi jbw – I wrote an extensive series of stories last year that might help answer your questions. They're collected under this link: http://wauwatosa.patch.com/search?keywords=Alex+hopping+heroin This was a girl from an affluent and caring Waukesha family who did everything they could to save her from her heroin addiction, and couldn't. They had her in residential rehab programs three times, at $10k to $20k a month each time, and she still slid back. That's how hard heroin pulls. Now imagine this guy, who probably has a much less supportive background to begin with. If he sought treatment at all, it likely would have been at outpatient drug clinics. Basically, they give you a pamphlet and a bottle of methadone or Suboxone and send you on your way. How does it even start? As my stories explain, Oxycodone and related prescription opiates have become the new suburban scourge. It's practically an epidemic in Waukesha high schools. Easy to get started on – somebody's mom has a medicine cabinet full of it, or somebody got a prescription of his own for "chronic back pain." But here's the rub. Sometimes, once you're addicted, you can't always get your fix. And so somebody says, "I know where I can get some heroin." And believe it or not, it's actually cheaper and easier to get than Oxys, once you make a connection. And it's a bigger rush. And you'll steal to get more, until it kills you or you end up in prison.

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