Wauwatosa police arrested a 51-year-old man over the weekend for allegedly trying to burglarize Golf Course — one of a string of suburban golf course heists to obtain ATM machines — after police set up a surveillance camera at the course and sent a live feed back to dispatchers.
The surveillance camera feed alerted them that there was a suspicious man at the golf course after hours and led to his arrest.
An officer also used a thermal imaging camera to look for a possible second suspect in the woods. No one was found, however. The Milwaukee man is now blaming a second man and denying that he tried to burglarize Currie Park or any other golf courses.
Investigators are probing whether there are connections to burglaries and ATM machine thefts May 24 at and June 1 at in Greenfield, said Lt. Gerald J. Witkowski, of the Wauwatosa police.
Police acted on a hunch
Police set up the Currie Park sting after getting word about the other suburban golf course burglaries. They thought Currie Park might be next — and it appears they may have been right. The Milwaukee man is on parole and was taken to the Milwaukee County Jail on a parole violation hold.
Police are conducting DNA testing. Officers also staked out the Milwaukee man’s address. They talked to the man’s sister, who said he had mental health and drug problems. She allowed police to search the duplex where the man was staying, but they didn’t find anything of interest, the records said. They did find a piece of mail addressed to him from a lawyer’s office, the Wauwatosa police reports show.
The Milwaukee man has a lengthy criminal record including an open case in Milwaukee County courts for criminal trespass. There is a hearing scheduled for later this month in that matter. The man’s case was part of a program designed to help offenders with drug treatment issues, according to court records.
Other burglaries with the last month
The Brookfield incident occurred on May 24 at clubhouse, 16075 Pinehurst Dr. The front glass door was smashed and an ATM machine removed, according to Wauwatosa police. The Greenfield burglary occurred on June 1 at , 5401 W. Layton Ave. In that incident, someone used a pry tool to shatter the glass and enter the building, also taking an ATM.
Details of the Wauwatosa crime
According to the Wauwatosa reports of the Currie Park incident:
On Saturday at 12:10 a.m., a squad was sent to Currie Park Golf course, 3535 N. Mayfair Road. “Dispatch advised that they were viewing a camera, which had been placed by our police department at the golf course,” the report read. The dispatcher had seen the Milwaukee man walking toward the club house.
When the officer arrived, he found a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked in the lot in front of the golf course and the man walking toward it. Upon seeing the officer, the man turned, and then ran away toward a wooded area. The officer gave chase.
He caught the man near the park entrance at North Mayfair Road. While being taken into custody, the man allegedly replied, “I’m not gonna catch no felony for breaking a window.”
The glass on the south side of the clubhouse was broken. It didn’t appear anyone had entered the building yet, though. There was an ATM machine directly in front of the window.
Suspecting the man might have an accomplice, police used a thermal imaging scope to look in the woods. They didn’t find anyone. Another man was arrested by a different squad and questioned about the attempted burglary, but he was let go when it was determined he had nothing to do with it. That man was arrested at North Mayfair Road and West Capitol Drive and initially lied to police about his name, but it was determined he was learning disabled and not involved, according to the reports.
Interviewed later by police, the reports say that the Milwaukee man “stated that there was not much to talk about and that all he did was get out of the car to urinate and that the other dude broke the window. He explained that the other subject broke the window as an act of retaliation for being treated poorly by the staff at Currie Park Golf Course, and that there was nothing more to it.”
In another interview, the man stated he had been picked up and taken to the golf course by another man he identified by a nickname. He said the second man had told him that employees at the golf course “had yelled at him about walking his pit bull, so he was going to retaliate.” He said he thought that meant tampering with a golf course and denied being involved in any golf course burglaries. Latex gloves were found in the jeep.