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Companion Links School Intrusions to Credit Card Thefts, Police Say

A possible accomplice tells police that William E. Brooks, arrested after being found roaming inside two Wauwatosa elementary schools, took her on a tour of the city during which credit cards were stolen.

Wauwatosa police are continuing their investigation of a Milwaukee man arrested and charged after he was found inside two elementary schools on Sept. 27, as well as of the woman who was with him when he was apprehended.

A 31-year-old Milwaukee woman was with William E. Brooks, 54, when he was arrested that day for obstructing police. She made statements to police possibly implicating him and incriminating herself in other acts shortly before they were stopped for questioning about the school entries, according to police reports.

Her statement to police details a lengthy tour of Wauwatosa that day on "errands" she said Brooks needed to run, well before they were stopped after Brooks was encountered inside Eisenhower and St. Joseph's elementary schools.

She, as a matter of record, has a criminal background of her own. The woman was convicted of auto theft in 2001 and of prostitution in 2010, according to state criminal court records. Police noted in their report that she is also a suspect in at least three open cases of misappropriation of identification to obtain money, commonly credit card theft.

However, the woman's statement placed her and Brooks at the time and scene of a reported credit card theft during their expedition in Wauwatosa on Sept. 27, and she told police that she, at Brooks' urging, attempted to use the stolen credit cards.

The attempted fraudulent transactions were confirmed by store and bank records.

Pair went to multiple medical offices, woman tells police

According to the police reports, the woman, who is not being named because she has not been charged in this matter, agreed to take Brooks on some errands he wanted to run on Sept. 27.

Before noon, she told police, they went to a dry cleaning shop on West State Street east of the Village, where Brooks entered with a bag of clothes and stayed for 10 or 15 minutes.

Then, she said, Brooks had her drive slowly past a school "on 68th Street south of State Street" — likely Jefferson Elementary School, which is actually on Maple Terrace a block west of 68th.

Next, she told officers, they went to Aurora Psychiatric Hospital where, she said, Brooks went inside for 30 to 40 minutes, then to Froedtert Hospital for 15 minutes, then to Wisconsin Heart Hospital for 10 minutes.

During this time, she claimed in her statement, she had no idea what Brooks was doing at all these places.

The next stop was Wheaton Franciscan Health Care, 201 N. Mayfair Rd., where she said Brooks went inside for 20 to 25 minutes. It was some time between 1 and 1:30 p.m. when he returned, she told police.

Employee reports theft of wallet, use of card

A Delafield woman who works at the Wheaton clinic reported that between 1:15 and 2 p.m. Sept. 27, her wallet was stolen, with five credit cards inside.

The victim said she knew she had the wallet as late as 1:15 because she had gone to an ATM just before that to make a withdrawal. Then she left her purse under her desk and was in and out of her office several times before noticing the wallet was missing at 2 p.m.

She also reported that her card had been used in an attempted transaction.

After the stop at Wheaton, Brooks' companion told police, they went to Target, 3900 N. 124th St., and then a gas station. Then, she said, Brooks told her to go to Mayfair Mall, where he gave her several credit cards and told her to go in to Macy's and purchase two $400 gift cards.

She told police she tried to do just that but was asked for ID, and the sale was refused. Brooks then sent her into Boston Store to try again, she said. She told officers she went in but did not try the transaction, came back out and lied to Brooks that she had again been asked for identification.

The attempted transaction at Macy's was recorded by both the store's computer system and the card owner's bank. The card owner was the Wheaton employee who had reported her cards missing earlier that afternoon.

Entries to schools brings an end to errands

After that, according to the statement of Brooks' companion, they went to Eisenhower Elementary School, where Brooks spent about five minutes inside, and then to another school — St. Joseph's — a few blocks west of there.

Eisenhower Principal Kristin Bowers spotted Brooks in the empty school library at about 3:10 p.m., while classes were still in session and the school doors should have been locked. She said she did not know how he entered but would review school security policies to ensure it can’t happen again.

She told police she made sure to escort Brooks out the main door so that his exit, at least, would be captured on surveillance video — which it was, leading to his positive identification by police. Bowers also identified him from a photo lineup.

Staff at St. Joseph's also spotted the man inside their school and ushered him out after giving him some enrollment forms and letting him use the bathroom.

Brooks' companion and possible accomplice also told police that when they were pulled over, he told her, "I can't go to jail," gave her the credit cards and told her to call him by a false name. He then gave that phony name to police but was correctly identified through fingerprint records on electronic file.

Brooks has an extensive habitual criminal record and, as reported earlier, has three open cases charged that total 12 counts of misappropriation of ID (credit cards), two counts of theft, and one of bail jumping.

The police reports update that with the information that he also had five outstanding warrants for his arrest from three different counties.

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