Two reports called in to Brookfield police within two hours Wednesday afternoon were in no way related to one another but showed some remarkable similarities.
In each case, a young adult man was accused of stealing rare and valuable property from his own family – and in one case, breaking in to get it.
According to police reports:
The first call came at 2:48 p.m. Wednesday, when a resident of the 19000 block of West North Avenue contacted police to report her stepson for theft from their home.
She said he had stolen an antique brass fireplace set and sold it for scrap, and she wanted him arrested.
The 22-year-old admitted the crime and said he had tried to get the heirloom fireplace pieces back, but it was too late – they were gone from the scrapyard or could not be found.
He was found to already be on probation for theft and was arrested on another count as well after his family said they would aid in his prosecution.
Neighbor calls to say something doesn't look right
Less than two hours later, at 4:26 p.m., a resident of the 300 block of North Elmridge Avenue called to report that her son, a 20-year-old living in Waukesha, had broken into her home and stolen valuable heirloom property, and she wanted him arrested.
She told police that her daughter, who lives with her, got a call from her brother after she left home at 9:05 a.m. – apparently to establish that she had in fact left and no one was home.
She returned around 11 a.m. after getting a call from a neighbor who said that her brother had stopped by the family home. In fact, the neighbor said, he'd seen the young man crawling in through a bedroom window.
He waved at him, and they exchanged pleasantries, the neighbor said. Then, he thought, he'd better let his neighbor know about his unusual form of entry.
When she arrived home, the young woman found jewelry missing from her room. When her mother returned later, she found more property missing, including more jewelry, a very valuable flute and other rarities. She called police.
Officers found that the window had been forced open and learned that the young man was on probation from a 2010 auto theft conviction and also had an arrest warrant out.
Police investigators found many of the unique items easy to trace through a jewelry exchange. They found the suspect and, upon questioning, he admitted the crime, and named a number of pawn shops in Waukesha where he had sold the goods.
More stolen property was recovered at his apartment, and in the end, most of his family's property was returned.
Brookfield police said there was some evidence that the young man may have a drug problem. They forwarded a request for charging on one count of burglary to the Waukesha County District Attorney. As of latest report, charges had not yet been filed.