Suspect facing 22 counts

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Pedro Oliveira Jr.
Monday, January 4, 2010
— A Milwaukee man is due in Walworth County Court today on accusations of stealing credit cards from parked cars at two Elkhorn gyms and buying hundreds of dollars worth of electronics for resale.

Robert D. Wheeler, 45, of Milwaukee is charged with nine felony counts and 13 misdemeanor counts. He faces more than 57 years in prison and $220,000 in fines for the current offenses.

Wheeler is a repeat offender and upon conviction could have his sentence enhanced by more than two years per charge.

Wheeler is accused of working with an accomplice yet to be charged, according to court records.

According to the criminal complaint:

On Nov. 19, a woman told police that someone broke the window of her Honda Odyssey parked at the Walworth County Gymnastic Center in Elkhorn. She said her purse, which was on the passenger seat, was taken along with her driver’s license and several credit cards.

The victim’s credit card was used at a department store for a purchase totaling $1,846 and a gas station in the amount of $20. The perpetrator also attempted to use the card at an electronics store for a $928 purchase, but the card was declined.

Law enforcement obtained video from the stores where the purchases were made or attempted, and the perpetrator in both cases appeared to be a female who is named in the complaint as an accomplice. An employee at one of the stores was shown a photo lineup and identified Wheeler as accompanying the female accomplice.

On Dec. 7, another woman’s car window was smashed while she was at Four Lakes Athletic Club in Elkhorn. She told police nothing was taken.

Less than two hours later, a woman told police that someone had broken into her GMC Yukon while the vehicle was parked at the Four Lakes parking lot. The victim said someone took her purse containing her wallet, $40 cash, her driver’s license and a credit card.

A fraud investigator told police that four fraudulent purchases were made with the victim’s credit card: three at a department store in the amounts of $1,259, $65 and $126 and one at a gas station in the amount of $21.

Video from the store showed a man police identified as Wheeler and his female accomplice making the purchases.

On Dec. 17, two women reported thefts from their vehicles parked at the Walworth County Gymnastics Center in Elkhorn. One of the women said the window of her car was smashed and her credit cards were stolen. The second victim said someone broke the window of her Ford Freestar and took her purse containing identification cards, credit cards and her husband’s Social Security card.

The detective investigating the case went to Four Lakes to respond to a report of two more vehicles with smashed windows and stolen properties. A male victim told authorities his laptop computer was missing. A second man said a backpack was missing from his vehicle.

After speaking with the latest four victims, the detective put out a call attempting to locate Wheeler’s car. The detective found Wheeler and his accomplice at a gas station in Lake Geneva. Inside Wheeler’s car were two new flat screen televisions.

The woman who had been spotted with Wheeler admitted to breaking into several cars with Wheeler and stealing a backpack, a computer case and two purses. She said they purchased two flat screen televisions and two video game systems using a stolen credit card.

She said Wheeler would break into the vehicles and give her the stolen credit cards to make purchases. The woman said they later sold the items in Kenosha.

Last updated: 12:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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