A 33-year-old Waukesha man is accused of breaking into a Milwaukee home with his friend so they could steal copper so they could buy heroin, according to a criminal complaint.
Joseph D. Poehlman was charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on Friday with one count of burglary. If convicted, he faces up to 7 ½ years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint:
At 12:14 p.m. Monday, an employee at Next Step Residential Services, 3193 S. 77th St., came into work and discovered the side door of the building was open. The company is located within a duplex and the employee could hear someone sawing in the basement.
The employee saw two men downstairs removing copper pipes and one of them was holding a bolt cutters. The employee grabbed one of the men and tried to hold him, but he was able to get away, dropping the bolt cutters.
The other man dropped a hacksaw he was holding and both of them fled the building. One man ran northeast towards South 76th Street and Oklahoma Avenue, while the other employee man ran east towards Divine Peace Lutheran Church.
The employee noticed an illegally parked vehicle by a nearby group home and assumed it belonged to the suspects.
Milwaukee Police Department officers were called to the burglary and they checks a nearby McDonald’s where an employee said a man had gone into the bathroom and hadn’t come out for 15 minutes. Officers found Poehlman in the bathroom and placed him under arrest.
Poehlman told officers his name was James McDonald and he and a friend who had stopped at the duplex to steal copper pipe. Poehlman said he and his friend are heroin addicts and he planned to try and get a ride from the McDonald’s after fleeing, but the cops came first.
Poehlman has been turned over to JUSTICE 2000 program for supervision while awaiting trial.