Footprints in snow aid investigator
Two men are accused of stealing $3,600 in cash from a Waupaca home.
Cody B. Harris, 19, Weyauwega, and Cody D. Johnson, 18, Waupaca, are both charged with one felony count each of burglary and theft.
On Jan. 4, Waupaca Police Officer Bret Rodenz was dispatched to a home on the 300 block of Wisconsin Street.
He spoke with the owner, who said $3,600 in cash and a jar filled with quarters had been stolen.
Someone had removed a safe from the closet, placed it on a bed and smashed its door to take the cash.
The victim suspected Harris and Johnson because they had been inside his home doing odd jobs.
There was no sign of forced entry, but Rodenz found two sets of footprints in the snow around the house.
Rodenz followed the footprints from the deck through the backyard to River Street, then east to the intersection of River and Franklin streets, where the footprints ended near tire tracks in the street.
Rodenz later asked the victim if he told anybody about the footprints.
He replied that he sent a message regarding the burglary and footprints to someone who lived with Harris and Johnson.
Rodenz then went to the residence of Harris and Johnson, where he saw footprints that matched those at the victim’s house, according to the criminal complaint.
When Rodenz questioned Harris, he noticed that he was wearing a pair of shoes that appeared new.
Harris told Rodenz his mother gave him a new pair of shoes for Christmas.
Rodenz photographed the shoes.
On Jan. 5, Rodenz traced the shoes he saw Harris wearing the previous day to a brand sold at Kmart called Athletech.
Rodenz went to Kmart, reviewed security video and saw Johnson and Harris buy a pair of shoes and leave the store, where Haris dumped the shoebox in a garbage can near the entrance and walked away with the shoes.
Rodenz spoke with Harris’ mother, who said she gave him a pair of shoes for Christmas that she purchased at Shopko.
He later learned the Adidas were black with white stripes.
Rodenz then went to Shopko and found some Adidas shoes with soles that matched the footprints at the crime scene.
Police downloaded images from Harris’ cellphone and found a photo taken of a pair of black Adidas with white stripes.
The photo only showed the leg of the person who took the picture. That person was wearing gray sweatpants “and they were the same style and color Cody Harris had on when I interviewed him,” Rodenz reported.
According to the criminal complaint, Johnson said he and Harris went to the house on Wisconsin Street and took the change jar.
Johnson said Harris wanted to return to look for more money and that is when they found the safe.
Harris allegedly used a hammer and screwdriver to smash open the safe.
Harris was released from custody on a $2,000 signature bond.
Johnson was released on a $5,000 signature bond.