Mobile jail cell used in education of children to deter crime is stolen

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Officials are investigating after a mobile mock jail cell on a trailer, used to influence children into choosing the right path in life was stolen.

It happened in an alley near 16th and Wright.

Rick "Neighborhood" Rogers is with Milwaukee's Phenomenal Men support group and says the trailer containing the mobile jail cell was about 10 feet long and weighed hundreds of pounds.

"The behavior is criminal. I had a lock on it. And here we is as a victim of crime -- took everything but the blocks," Rogers said.

The group's president, Johnson Smith says the trailer cost about $4,000, but the cost of losing this as a means of educating the community's children is much greater.

In 2007, FOX6 News did a story on the anti-crime display that has been used for about eight years as a means of illustrating what life behind bars is really like.

"You trying to keep people from going to jail, but they gonna steal a jail," Rogers said.

"Funny is not the word. It's not funny, because we use it as a tool to deter crime," Smith said.

Smith says the reality of not having their most impactful teaching tool before students take their summer break makes their job much harder.

"It became the primary heart and soul of the organization," Smith said.

Smith says he doesn't want the thieves to end up in the kind of cell they stole. He wants to get them help, and he wants the trailer back on the pavement it was taken from.