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Neighbors on edge after Wauwatosa man catches burglars in his home

Neighbors on edge after Wauwatosa man catches burglars in his home

By Keller Russell. CREATED Sep 6, 2011

WAUWATOSA - "I feel pretty scared. I mean it's just scary."

Scary knowing in broad daylight, two men broke into a family's home just across the street from Agnes Hoppe.

"I'm real surprised. I'm really like shocked," said the mom and neighbor.

Her neighbor came home to find the men in his house. When he confronted them, asking them what they were doing there, one said, "Don't tell me you live here."

Bridget Coffey also lives across the street from the victim. She looked the two crooks in the eye the day they pulled up outside. They were sitting in a white truck. She thought they were among the men helping deliver her new sofa. But, they didn't get out.

"They looked at me. They didn't look like they were doing anything suspicious. They acted normal so I really didn't give it much regard," said Coffey.

Not long after, her neighbor returned early from work to his home here near N. 72nd and Hillcrest Drive.

According to police reports, he saw a strange man in his driveway and asked what they were doing in his home. The man replied "Don't tell me you live here." When the man realized what was happening and that he could be in danger, he backed off into his yard and called 911.

Coffey and other neighbors heard the suspects squealing wheels as they drove away, but not before they went back into the house to grab more stuff.

Those men -- idenified as 56 year old James Bailey and 23 year old Ramone Baker -- led police on a chase that eventually ended with a standoff between police and Baker inside a Milwaukee home.

Baker was arrested at that site. He was out on bail at the time of the crime and is now charged with a felony.

Bailey was arrested outside a Wauwatosa Walgreens. He's charged with burglary and party to a crime.

Back in Wauwatosa, Agnes Hoppe wants to know why police didn't alert neighbors about the burglary.

"We've got families, small children, ya know. Just let us know what was happening in our neighborhood," said Hoppe.

Police tell us they do alert neighbors when they believe safety is at risk or if there is an on-going rash of burglaries.

When they do so, a phone call goes out to neighbors in the affected area. Police say it's a delicate line between informing neighbors and creating fear.