Menomonee Falls — Two Milwaukee men were each charged on Oct. 9 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with felony theft, allegedly stealing thousands of pounds of copper from the Harley Davidson factory in Menomonee Falls.
According to the criminal complaint:
William J. Rogers, 49, was an employee of Veolia Waste Management who worked at the factory during the alleged thefts. Dennis M. Hardwick, 48, was his alleged accomplice. A third man was originally a suspect in the thefts but was not charged.
On Oct. 7, Menomonee Falls Police were dispatched to the Harley Davidson factory on Pilgrim Road to investigate the copper thefts. Harley Davidson security officer Jesse Johnson told police that about 46 spools of copper, valued at $64,860, had gone missing since mid-August.
The security staff had first noticed two spools of copper was missing on Sept. 18, Johnson said. They performed an inventory audit and found that over 12,000 pounds of copper had gone missing in little more than a month.
Another security officer told police that he suspected copper was missing after receiving reports from managers that projects were being delayed because of a lack of wiring. He reviewed inventory records and determined there should have been enough wire to complete the projects.
The security team monitored wire more closely and observed that three spools went missing between 8 and 9 a.m. Oct. 6. The security officers viewed surveillance footage that allegedly showed Rogers and Hardwick leaving the factory during that time with a dolly covered in black plastic. A third man, also an employee of Veolia, had apparently propped the door open for them.
Rogers admitted in a statement to police that he was involved in the thefts. He said that he and Hardwick had taken 25 rolls of copper, typically stealing it on Sundays when there were fewer employees.
He said that he used the money to buy crack cocaine.
Hardwick admitted to helping Rogers steal the wire, but claimed he did not receive any money for it. Police performed a database search and found that Hardwick had sold thousands of pounds of copper to a Milwaukee scrap yard between Sept. 23 and Oct. 7.
Hardwick and Rogers could each face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if convicted.
Hardwick was released from jail on Oct. 10 on a $2,500 signature bond. He is expected to appear again in court on Oct. 24.
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