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Tactical mistake leads to burglary suspect

May 3, 2011

Menomonee Falls — A burglar who broke into a Menomonee Falls bar last year forgot one detail, which led to his arrest and a subsequent charge in Waukesha County Circuit Court on April 27.

According to the criminal complaint:

A burglar broke into the Belly Up Bar, W18384 Christman Road, Menomonee Falls, on Oct. 4 and turned the security cameras up toward the ceiling except for one. That lone camera was able to capture the burglar, later identified as Joseph R. Sponholz, 37, of W24186 Main St., Sussex, entering the bar holding a large pick ax. The video showed the time of the incident was 2:03 a.m.

Sponholz allegedly went through the cash register, broke into gaming machines, and a wooden raffle box, the complaint said. Sponholz then went into a closet that contained the video surveillance hard drive and damaged the equipment, the complaint said.

At one point Sponholz came toward the camera which captured a clear image of him wearing a Green Bat Packers hat, a number 50 Packers jersey and eyeglasses, the complaint said.

Police were able to review the video surveillance from the damaged hard drive.

Police developed Sponholz as a suspect and obtained a search warrant to his residence and police found a Packers hat and jersey that matched the kind worn by the burglar, the complaint said.

Also, police learned Sponholz had just purchased a 2005 silver Toyota Tacoma. An employee of the bar informed police that she saw a mid-sized, silver Toyota, four-by-four had driven by the bar slowly while she was cleaning up, the complaint said.

Police found Sponholz at a Sussex bar wearing eyeglasses and athletic shoes that matched those worn by the perpetrator, as well.

More than $300 was stolen from the bar.

Sponholz was charged with one count of burglary. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

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