Felony charges have been filed against a Green Bay man accused of breaking into a downtown Waupaca business and stealing more than $3,000.
Robert J. Hammes, 42, is charged with burglary, felony theft and criminal damage to property.
On Jan. 18, Waupaca Police Officer Bret Rodenz was dispatched to Little Caesar’s on the corner of South Main and Badger streets.
When he arrived, Rodenz found a large safe that had been knocked down onto the kitchen floor. A screwdriver was jammed into the middle of the safe where there should have been a handle. Next to the safe were three cash drawers and a cash box. Forced entry had been made through the back door.
Rodenz also noted that a bottle of cleaning fluid had been left out in the kitchen. The employees said it was not there when they closed the store.
Rodenz then arranged to see video footage from nearby businesses. Video from a panning camera located at Wisconsin Public Service showed two people at the back door, but the lighting was insufficient for a clear image.
Security video from Trinity Lutheran Church and Dairy Queen showed a light-colored vehicle driving south on Jefferson Street. At 11:24 p.m. Jan. 27, the vehicle stopped for 12 seconds at the intersection of Jefferson and Deer streets, signaled a right turn, then signaled a left turn and turned left onto Deer Street, then left again one block later at Division Street. A second camera had video of the same vehicle traveling north Division Street then turning left onto Badger Street.
On Feb. 17, Green Bay police contacted Waupaca Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel with a lead regarding the break in at Little Caesar’s Pizza.
Cristy Wells, a Green Bay woman who was on extended supervision after being convicted and sentenced to prison for burglary in Portage County, had told investigators her boyfriend, Hammes, had committed the burglary in Waupaca.
Hoelzel met with Wells the following day at the the Brown County jail.
According to the criminal complaint, Wells told Hoelzel that she and Hammes drove to her grandmother’s home in Plover on Jan. 17. They headed back home to Green Bay and stopped at the Kwik Trip in Waupaca to leave her children with their father.
As they approached the intersection of Badger and Main streets, Hammes allegedly told her to drive around the block and drop him off behind Little Caesar’s.
Wells then drove back to Main Street where she parked in front of Rosa Theater.
After waiting for more than an hour, Wells texted Hammes to hurry because it was getting late and she had seen several police cars. Hammes called her back and a short time later she picked him up.
She estimated that Hammes stole between $1,500 and $2,000 in cash. She also told Hoelzel that Hammes had sprayed the kitchen down with bleach in order to remove any DNA evidence he may have left behind.
According to the criminal complaint, Hammes stole an estimated $3,165 from the store.
Hammes is also a suspect with four other men in a burglary spree that hit more than 20 stores and restaurants in Brown, Outagamie and Portage counties. He is currently in custody in Brown County on a $15,000 cash bond.