Police have made an arrest in the burglary spree that has plagued downtown Waupaca for the past two weeks.
Waupaca Police Chief Tim Goke said a 16-year-old boy is being held in secure detention.
No charges have been filed, but the case has been referred to the Waupaca County district attorney’s office.
“We will be asking that he be waived into adult court,” Goke said.
Goke said the investigation is still ongoing.
“I don’t believe him to be the lone suspect,” Goke said. “I’m not convinced that it’s over.”
Over the past two weeks, five area businesses have been hit.
Among those experiencing burglaries were two retail stores, Panache on Main Street and W.J. Doran Co., the hardware store on Jefferson Street. Doran’s store has been hit twice, Goke said.
Break-ins occurred at three professional buildings in the downtown area, including the law office of Kay Anderson on South Main Street, the accounting firm of Mayor Brian Smith on East Union Street and the dental office of Dr. Gregory Harvey on East Badger Street. Smith’s building was broken into twice.
The break-ins resulted in the theft of small amounts of cash. “He took just what could be easily grabbed, petty cash, change jars,” Goke said.
Goke said burglaries recently occurred at two homes near downtown, but investigators do not believe that those burglaries were related to the break-ins at stores and offices.
“We make every attempt to periodically check vacant houses but I would ask that any realtors or property owners that have vacant property ensure the houses are kept secure,” Goke said. “We also recommend either outside security lighting or lighting inside at random times, such as those on a timer.”
Goke said vacant houses are being used by transients for temporary shelter and also juveniles loitering.
In one instance, evidence of drug and alcohol use was present along with evidence of burning materials that may have been used to keep warm on colder nights.
Last month, a burglary occurred at Cronies on Main Street and an attempted break-in was reported at Simpson’s restaurant next door to Cronies. A juvenile was arrested in those burglaries.
The chief noted that the break-ins occurred primarily through single-pane ground level windows and wooden doors that are easy to breach. He said the older buildings in downtown Waupaca were targeted.
“The Waupaca Police Department strongly encourages all property owners to harden their businesses so as to deter future break-ins,” Goke said in an email to area businesses. “Old wooden doors should be replaced with secure steal doors, single pane glass should be replaced with a more secure material, especially those at ground level. If possible, install security lighting or motion detectable lighting to deter loitering.”
Goke asked that anyone with information about the burglaries contact the Waupaca police at 715-258-4466.