Beware The Mean Streets Of Shorewood
Last Friday, some friends and family arranged a dinner at my favorite restaurant, The River Lane Inn in Brown Deer, to "celebrate" Jeff Wagner Day. It was a lovely evening marred only by the fact that a close friend of mine was unable to attend because she had been a crime victim earlier in the evening.
While patronizing a couple of businesses in Shorewood late Friday afternoon, my friend had her wallet stolen from her purse. We know it was stolen because a few minutes after she noticed it was missing, somebody was using her credit card to buy gasoline at a local gas station. A few minutes after that, somebody used the same credit card to purchase over $900 worth of stuff at the Wal-Mart on Capitol Drive (across the street from our radio station).
As an aside, when somebody buys that much crap at Wal-Mart, perhaps it would be wise for the clerk to ask for a photo ID - but I digress.
To make matters worse, my friend was scheduled to fly to Europe for business on Saturday afternoon. As a result, she was carrying a lot more cash than normal.
Here's a tip for authorities. If anyone shows up at a bank Monday trying to negotiate Swiss francs or British pounds, you might want to ask a couple of questions.
Actually, the Shorewood Police have been outstanding in investigating the matter. What's interesting though is that they told my friend that crimes of this nature are apparently relatively common. Given all the redevelopment on Oakland Avenue, my guess is that criminals are seeing more targets of opportunity than ever.
I wonder whether the perpetrators are Shorewood natives or escapees from the Eden that is Tom Barrett's Milwaukee in search of more affluent targets? Hopefully, we'll know at some point.
Maybe this explains why certain crime statistics in Milwaukee have been improving. Perhaps the criminals are just moving their activities into the suburbs.
Even if the cops do catch the thief, the chances for justice are relatively slim. This is, after all, John Chisholm's Milwaukee County DA's Office. You know, the one that spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to investigate planning a fundraiser (that didn't happen)! Even if they do charge the case, it will then go before a Milwaukee County Circuit Judge (who may or may not think property crimes are a big deal).
As far a restitution goes, good luck with that.
The good news is that my friend wasn't hurt - and at the end of the day, you can always replace stuff.
Still, the real outrage is that long after the thief has resold the merchandise he/she bought at Wal-Mart for pennies on the dollar, my friend is going to be spending tens of hours recreating her life. I mean, it wasn't just her credit cards that were stolen. It was her drivers license, her insurance cards, her telephone calling card, etc.
I remember when Shorewood was a really nice, safe - albeit, really liberal - community. You know, the place where all the lefty professors at UW-Milwaukee moved when they got tenure. It might still be a safe community - but you'll have trouble convincing my friend.
I guess the lesson is that you have to be especially vigilant because criminals are everywhere waiting for any opportunity to rip you off. Let your guard down for even a minute - and get ready to be a crime victim.
Even on the mean streets of Shorewood.