Brookfield police suspect an accused serial burglar broke into 15 Brookfield businesses, but they have DNA and other physical evidence to prove five break-ins.
Already facing charges stemming from break-ins in Wauwatosa and Menomonee Falls — where a police officer allegedly caught him in the act of prying open a restaurant's back door, Scott M. Laskowski, 32, of Wauwatosa, made his first court appearance Thursday on charges stemming from Brookfield burglaries.
One place Brookfield police say he hit: his own employer, Dennis' Towing, where he allegedly made unauthorized fuel purchases.
Laskowski, who no longer works for Dennis', appeared via video conference Thursday from the Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution in Plymouth. If convicted of the five counts of burglary, two counts of identity theft and one count of criminal damage to property, he faces up to 75 years in prison.
Laskowski was caught in the act of burglarizing a Menomonee Falls restaurant, , last August. A police officer spotted him trying to pry open the back door, and he had various burglary tools and a crack pipe.
Wauwatosa police said they suspected Laskowski in and charged him with those they felt they could prove.
Brookfield Police Capt. Jim Adlam said in an interview that while Brookfield referred charges for five Brookfield break-ins between last May and August, "we suspect him strongly in 10 others. But we just don't have the physical evidence to support that."
Police say they have evidence ranging from bags of snacks and packs of cigarettes to blood and DNA tying Laskowski to the crimes. Adlam said officers also were able to get security video of him using stolen credit cards and checks at various businesses.
The method of operation was the same as found in the other communities, Adlam said, prying open doors of older businesses with lesser security. Many of the Brookfield places hit were in the northeastern industrial area between Capitol Drive and Hampton Avenue, particularly Lisbon Road.
"Our evidence techs and the detective has done a very nice job putting this together," Adlam said. "We're glad that we could clear what (burglaries) we could."
According to the criminal complaint for the Brookfield charges:
- On May 28, Laskowski broke into , 12720 W. Lisbon Rd., taking numerous personal checks written to the business by customers. Police discovered Laskowski forged 17 checks stolen from day care to buy items including packs of Camel 99 cigarettes. When he was arrested in Menomonee Falls, he had a pack of the same type of cigarette in his car.
- While working as a tow truck driver for Dennis’ Towing Service, 13990 W. Lisbon Rd., Laskowski made 17 transactions for fuel during a billing period, but only five of the purchases were for diesel fuel, which the tow trucks use, said the owner who called police after discovering the discrepancies.
- In July Laskowski broke into and stolen money from a cash register at , 4175 N. 124th St., as well as from Markcraft Company, 4185 N. 124th St.
- In August he broke into , 12565 Lisbon Rd., and , 12645 W. Lisbon Rd., where he stole cash, a projector and two decorative swords.