The East Side and Riverwest areas are open for business after Milwaukee Police nabbed a burglar who struck when they were closed.
Officers arrested Phillip Baker – already on parole for a 2006 burglary until 2018 - believed to be responsible for at least 15 business burglaries between April 7-30, 2012. He struck largely between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Baker apparently didn’t learn his lesson the first time. In 2006, uniformed Milwaukee Police Officers saw him smashing the window of a gas station near N. 92nd St. & W. Hampton Ave. He spotted them, jumped in his van and let officers on a high-speed pursuit. He crashed at 5th & Melvina – just three blocks away from where he committed his final burglary in April 2012 – the night before his arrest. Witnesses saw him and video cameras captured him committing several of the burglaries. On a few occasions, he was frightened off by alarms he activated while he was trying to break in.
Baker’s streak was doomed when officers from Districts 1 and 5, together with detectives from the Central and South Investigations Divisions pooled their expertise and developed a strategy to identify and arrest the suspect.
The beginning of Baker’s end was April 30, 2012 about 10:30 p.m. when a resident call police and reported her car had been broken into in an underground parking garage in the 1400 block of N. Prospect Ave. Officers Richard Lopez and Frank Salinsky found a witness in the area who spotted the suspect in the garage and noted that the description was the same as the elusive business burglar.
Officers Lopez and Salinsky patrolled the area, searching for the man. They weren’t giving up. About 11:30 p.m., they spotted a suspect who matched the description who was looking into parked cars in the 900 block of E. Brady St. They arrested him for loitering and prowling and found he had pieces of broken window glass in the pockets of his sweatshirt.
In addition to his current parole status, Baker also had an active arrest warrant for violating that parole from April 23, 2012. He has an extensive record with MPD, including prior arrests for burglary, attempt burglary and burglary while armed. Detectives Andre Matthews and Scott Lackovic took Baker’s confession and the district attorney’s office charged him with multiple counts of burglary and theft from autos.
Tireless work by police officers and detectives gave hard-working businesses their livelihoods back and enabled these neighborhoods to live without fear of further crimes by this burglar.