Police sort through hundreds of items after storage shed burglars caught
SAUKVILLE - The Washington County Sheriff's Office is trying to match hundreds of stolen items with their rightful owners.
The stolen property is the result of what police describe as a "storage unit" crime spree
that occurred across southeastern Wisconsin over the past six months. Storage facilities in West Bend, Slinger, Barton, Jackson, Kewaskum, Polk, Trenton and Saukville were targeted.
Cecil Zapata, 29, and his uncle, John Shumo, 54, are behind bars for the crimes. Police say Shumo went to prison for the same crime back in 2003.
Joseph Herther, the owner of JH Universal Construction, caught the men on his surveillance cameras. Police say they stole Herther's trailer in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon. His business is next to a storage facility.
"In the video they looked very relaxed," Herther says. "That's what aggravated me the most. It was like they had no care in the world. They were just taking my stuff with no remorse."
Zapata and Shumo are also accused of stealing more than $100,000 worth of stuff that now sits in a garage at the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
There's big-ticket items like motorcycles, computers, and guns. Then, there's smaller stuff like children's bikes, tools, and a box of stolen socks and underwear. Zapata and Shumo even had the nerve to write their names on some of the stuff, as if they owned it.
John Michael Smith was one of the victims, who just wants his stuff returned.
"They cut through right through the lock on my storage unit," he says. "We're glad they got caught. They took a lot of stuff."
"We're relieved police were able to find our stolen trailer," Herther adds. "It's expensive. Just the fact that we got it back, you feel a little bit better at the end of the day."
If you feel you could have possibly been a victim of these brazen storage-unit burglars, you're urged to call your local police department.
The investigation is still ongoing. Detectives believe Zapata and Shumo may be tied to more of these crimes throughout the state.