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Two Stole Copper From Foreclosed Tavern, Charges Say

Brookfield man and Waukesha man were caught by a Big Bend police officer while trying to take copper out of the former Coach House Tavern, charges allege.

A Brookfield man and Waukesha man are accused of breaking into a foreclosed Big Bend restaurant so they could steal copper pipes out of an upstairs apartment.

Brad R. Market, 23, of Brookfield, and Shane A. Searl, 31, of Waukesha, were charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court Tuesday with one count of burglary. If convicted, they each face up to 7 1/2 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Nov. 2, a Big Bend police officer was performing a business check on the former Coach House Bar, W233 S7260 Vernon Lane, where a car was in the parking lot and a dim light was coming from an upstairs apartment. The building has been foreclosed and the officer knew no one was supposed to be inside.

The vehicle was registered to Market's father, so the officer contacted his mother, who called her son and said the police were outside of the building and knew he was inside. Market and Searl then walked out of the upstairs apartment and were placed under arrest.

Searl was searched and a small piece of copper pipe and gold colored door knob were in his pocket. Officers at the scene noticed the strong smell of natural gas coming from inside the building. One investigator looked inside the kitchen of the apartment and found copper pipe laying on the ground and heard a hiss of natural gas, so officers left the building and contacted WE Energies to shut off the gas.

Searl said he was falling behind on rent, so the two decided to go into the building and take the copper. Market also admitted to the theft, saying he expected to get $145 for the copper.

Both men were free on $2,500 signature bonds while awaiting trial.

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