Footprints in snow help police net alleged garage burglar

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police arrested an alleged garage burglar on the city's northwest side, by following the suspect's footprints in the snow.

Police arrested the 34-year-old suspect Friday night after officers found the prints leading away from a garage in the 4400 block of N. 65th St. On the Milwaukee Police Department's Facebook Page, police say Officer Timothy Meinecke was investigating the 65th Street burglary when he followed prints and discovered two additional burglaries.

Sgt. Timothy Lieske also picked up a trail of shoe prints and eventually arrived at a residence and spoke with a homeowner in the homeowner's garage, where he noticed snowblowers, hedge trimmers, tool boxes, tools and other items. Sgt. Lieske called for additional squads and received consent to search the residence and garage. The suspect was located inside the residence, in a crawl space and was taken into custody. Among the 89 items they recovered were stolen snowblowers, weed whackers and tire rims, taken from the suspect's garage.

Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis said the solid police work and a tip from an affected neighborhood helped solve this crime. In a statement Monday, Davis say he wished to commend the officers for their work. He also said the resident who tipped off police also deserves thanks and recognition.

Inez Word was all smiles Sunday after finding out Milwaukee police arrested the man accused of stealing items from people's garages in her neighborhood. Word says she kept seeing officers in the area, and wondered what was going on. "I was noticing the other morning, they were just going around and around, and I said, 'what's going on?' But I never did think anything about it. I said, 'okay, cool, at least they're watching the neighborhood,'" Word said.

Word says she can feel safe now that police made an arrest, instead of worrying like she had been. "I'm looking behind me to see if someone is out here," Word said.

Police say they're thankful the snow was on the ground as they investigated. "They followed footprints that went from each burglary. They were able to track the fresh prints in the snow to the suspect's house," Milwaukee Police Officer Lisa Saffold said.

Word says she's glad Mother Nature was able to assist police in this investigation. "Good thing we have snow in Milwaukee!" Word said.

Police say the suspect had prior arrests for burglary and drugs.