Documents: Homeowner chased, wrestled burglary suspect

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Nico Savidge
Monday, October 28, 2013

JANESVILLE—Early Saturday morning, the owner of a house on Prairie Fox Drive awoke to find a man crawling around his bedroom floor, according to court documents.

When the homeowner yelled at the man, police say 20-year-old Nicholas M. Wuthrich got up and tried to run out of the house.

The homeowner chased after him.

Wuthrich, of 4544 E. Highway 14, Janesville, tripped at the front door and the homeowner jumped on him, police said. The two men then wrestled and fought on the sidewalk until officers arrived and arrested Wuthrich, who also broke into two nearby houses in the hours before he was caught, authorities said.

Prosecutors have not officially filed charges against Wuthrich, though court documents released Monday indicate he will face three felony counts and three misdemeanors, including burglary, attempted burglary and battery to the Prairie Fox Drive homeowner.

Police have not said if they believe Wuthrich also was responsible for a string of recent Janesville burglaries, which authorities warned residents about last week.

A news release about Wuthrich's arrest mentioned the other break-ins but said police were still investigating those. Officials could not be reached for an update on those investigations Monday.

Wuthrich's string of burglaries started just before midnight Friday, according to the complaint, when Janesville police were called to a home on the 1600 block of Wildrose Way.

As an officer was responding to that call, another homeowner reported a burglary, police said. This one was on the 4300 block of Prairie Fox Drive, just steps from where Wuthrich was arrested and around the corner from the first burglary.

Cash seems to have been the target.

Wuthrich stole “at least $11” from a woman's purse at the first burglary, but was scared off before he could take anything at the second home minutes later, authorities said.

Two hours after that, police were called back to the neighborhood when the Prairie Fox homeowner found Wuthrich trying to steal cash from a wallet and purse in his home, according to the complaint.

Officers found $67 on Wuthrich when he was arrested, police said. The maximum penalties for the charges he likely will face total more than 30 years in prison.

Wuthrich will make an initial appearance today in Rock County Court.

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