One of three men suspected of being involved in a 2006 home invasion and robbery in the town of Dayton now faces multiple felony charges in Waupaca County Circuit Court.
A warrant was issued Friday, April 30, for the arrest of Ben M. Trauger, 28, Appleton. He has been charged with armed burglary, two counts of armed robbery, two counts of false imprisonment and reckless endangerment as a party to a crime.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, April 30, 2006, Thomas Halverson drove into the garage attached to his home near the intersection of West Stratton Lake Road and State Highway 22.
As he closed the overhead door, two intruders came into the garage through a side service door.
The two men were wearing hooded sweatshirts, and one of them had a mask covering the lower portion of his face. Halverson was forced to lie face down on the floor.
Halverson’s wife, Helen, told investigators she had heard a thump and went to investigate. When she entered the garage, she saw one of the men ordering Tom Halverson to get on the floor. The second man, whom she had not seen, approached her holding a knife. He pushed her to the floor.
At that point, Tom Halverson, who was 60 years old at the time, stood up and began fighting with the men. He punched one of them in the face several times before they overpowered him. During the struggle, Halverson’s hand was cut by the knife.
The two men then forced the Halversons into the house, where they bound their hands and feet together with duct tape.
While Halverson was lying on the floor, he was kicked several times in the ribs and the head, according to the criminal complaint.
One of the assailants demanded that the Halversons open their safe. “The kids at school said there is a lot of money in your safe,” one of them said.
Helen Halverson told the men that the combination to the safe was written on a piece of paper in her purse. One of the men pulled her purse off the table, turned it upside down and dumped the contents on the floor. He found the piece of paper with the combination, opened the safe, but did not find any money. They stole an estimated $120 from Helen Halverson’s purse.
After the intruders left, Helen Halverson was able to free herself and her husband and call 911.
She later told investigators that the entire incident probably lasted no more than five minutes, “but it seemed like an eternity,” according to the criminal complaint.
When questioned by Detective Sgts. Robert Karski and John Mocadlo on April 23, 2012, Traeger denied being involved in the incident.
One of the other suspects, who is in custody but has yet to be charged due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, said Traeger had been waiting in the car while the other two went inside.