Police Discuss Carjackings With 90 Residents At HWTN Meeting

Milwaukee Police Capt. Eric Moore, head of the department’s First District, gave details on the recent East Side carjacking spree to about 90 people attending Historic Water Tower Neighborhood’s monthly meeting Wednesday Jan. 6, 2015.

image1Moore and several community liaison officers who also attended the HWTN meeting spoke and took questions from residents for 90 minutes about the crimes, police actions and what residents can do to improve their safety.

Moore detailed a carjacking on N. Farwell on Monday morning (see police email below). He also noted that one suspect, 16, had been living in a home for juvenile offenders on the 2500 block N. Murray Ave. after spending time at Lincoln Hills Schools for Boys. Another of the carjackers was a young woman, 17, he said. One of the assailants was arrested for a carjacking later this week in Fond du Lac.

Residents raised many issues, including fears about safety, concerns about recidivism and the desire for a continuation of increased police presence after a 90-day task force in the area expires Feb. 29.

Advice and comments from police a block watch captain from the Sherman Park neighborhood who also spoke and Ald. Nik Kovac included:

  • Police cannot keep a permanent enhanced presence due to crimes in other parts of the city, but they will respond as necessary to spikes in crime.
  • Residents should trust their instincts when sensing danger and act accordingly. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if possibly in danger.
  • Carjackers who have been arrested have told police that their ideal victims are women, older men and people distracted on their phones.
  • Residents should get to know their neighbors and be able to contact them about suspicious activity or crimes.
  • Police and Ald. Nik Kovac, who also spoke at the meeting, said crime info will be made available via HWTN’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HistoricWaterTowerNeighborhood/, and Nextdoor.com’s “Historic Water Tower” group, https://historicwatertowerwi.nextdoor.com
  • At a member’s request, MPD agreed to provide HWTN with “Block Watch” signs that can be placed in home windows.

During the meeting, some residents:

  • Asked about police tactics and strategies to deal with carjackings and other crimes, and some felt they didn’t get a sufficient answer.
  • Suggested hiring private security, paid for by neighbors.
  • Raised concerns that the criminal justice system was too lenient on offenders and wanted to follow defendants through the process.
  • Wanted to see offenders mentored.
  • Asked about whether residents should carry concealed weapons.

HWTN plans to meet with Moore and other officers in the near future to continue to improve police notifications to residents and to set up a regular monthly briefing between the police and an HWTN committee about crime trends and issues.

From: Moore, Eric

Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2016 11:04 PM

To: Kovac, Nik

Cc: Cervantes, Amanda

Subject: Farwell Avenue Carjacking Investigation

Good Evening Alderman,

Below is per your request.

On Monday, January 4, 2016, at approximately 6:20AM, in the 2900 block of N. Farwell Avenue, a 56 year-old Franklin (WI) woman parked her Toyota SUV in front of her son’s residence.  As she was sitting in her vehicle, she observed a dark auto drive past her several times (in a northerly direction on N. Farwell Avenue).  At one point, the dark auto made a U-turn and pulled behind the victim’s auto.  Two of the three occupants in the suspect vehicle (dark auto) exited their vehicle and (they) approached the victim’s auto on the passenger side.  The main actor pointed a firearm at the victim and demanded that she “get out of the car”.  The victim complied and the two actors jumped into her vehicle and drove off.  Those two actors were followed by the third actor who was driving the suspect vehicle (dark auto).  The victim was not physically harmed.

Later Monday, at approximately 1:30PM, three occupants (actors) riding in the Farwell Avenue victim’s stolen Toyota SUV, approached a 40 Year-old Wauwatosa woman in the parking lot of the Walmart store located at 4140 W. Greenfield Avenue, West Milwaukee.  Two of the actors, one of which was armed with a handgun, approached the victim and attempted to take her Mercedes Benz automobile.  The actors were unsuccessful in their attempt and they fled the parking lot in the Toyota SUV without obtaining anything from the intended victim who was not physically harmed.

Shortly after 1:40PM, three occupants (actors) riding in the Farwell Avenue victim’s stolen Toyota SUV approached a 55 year-old Oak Creek man in the parking lot of the HOBO home improvement store located at 3545 S. 27th Street, Milwaukee.  Two of actors, while armed with handguns, approached the man and demanded his wallet, money, and 4-door Lincoln automobile.  The victim complied and the two armed actors got into his auto and drove off.  The stolen Toyota SUV followed the Lincoln off of the HOBO parking lot.  The victim was not physically harmed.

At approximately 3:45PM, four occupants (actors) riding in the Farwell Avenue victim’s stolen Toyota SUV pulled alongside a Honda vehicle that was being driven by a 25 year-old South Milwaukee woman in the 2500 block of W. Maple Street, Milwaukee.  The Toyota SUV suddenly veered in front of the Honda cutting it off.  Two actors exited the Toyota and approached the woman (victim) as she sat in her Honda.  One of the actors was armed with a handgun and he ordered the victim out of her vehicle.  The victim complied and the two actors got into her vehicle and drove off.  The other two actors then followed in the stolen Toyota SUV.  The victim was not physically harmed.

At approximately 3:55PM (ten minutes after the Honda offense), two occupants (actors) riding in the Farwell victim’s stolen Toyota SUV passed a Chrysler vehicle that was being driven by a 45 year-old Milwaukee woman in the 2300 block of W. Maple Street, Milwaukee.  The Toyota SUV suddenly stopped in the roadway, causing the Chrysler to also stop behind it.  One of the two actors in the Toyota SUV exited the vehicle and approached the Chrysler.  That actor pointed a handgun at the victim and ordered her to get out of her car and hand over her purse.  The victim complied.  The armed actor got into the victim’s vehicle and drove off.  The other actor then followed in the stolen Toyota SUV.  The victim was not physically harmed.

At approximately 11:40PM, Milwaukee Police Officers observed the Farwell Avenue victim’s stolen Toyota SUV and the above-mentioned stolen Chrysler on a near-south side residential street.  A foot chase and a vehicular pursuit ensued, and two actors were immediately taken into custody.  These actors are ages 19 and 17.  On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 5th, a third actor (age 18) was taken into custody, and the Milwaukee Police Department is currently seeking several other identified actors who are believed to have participated to some degree in this crime spree.

It is important to note that, one of the main actors in these offenses is in custody and has admitted involvement in all of the afore-mentioned criminal offenses.  At the time of the offenses (yesterday), this main actor was an absconder from a youth home that is located in the area where the Toyota SUV was taken.  This actor was recently released from a Wisconsin Correctional Facility following a period of confinement that resulted from a Robbery Adjudication.

The MPD and West Milwaukee PD investigations are continuing.

Captain EJM

Police District Captain to Speak on East Side Crime Trends, Ald. Kovac to Give Neighborhood Update Jan. 6

Milwaukee Police District #1 Capt. Eric Moore will speak and take questions about East Side crime trends at the 7 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 6, 2016, meeting of the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood trustees.

Ald. Nik Kovac will also give HWTN a neighborhood update.

MOOREEricJMoore’s attendance at the meeting follows a recent spate of carjackings and an armed street robbery and assault in the immediate area.

Moore is the new captain of Police District #1, which covers the East Side and Downtown.

The meeting is open to the public and takes place in Lake Park’s Marcia Coles Community Room, in the Lake Park Pavilion building beneath Lake Park Bistro. Cookies and coffee will be offered starting at 6:45 p.m.

According to information on the Milwaukee Police Department website:

Captain Eric Moore has been a member of the Milwaukee Police Department since 1980. He began his career as a Police Aide and was later promoted to the ranks of Police Officer, Detective, and Lieutenant of Detectives. Prior to heading District #1, Moore was Captain of Police in the Criminal Investigation Bureau assigned to complete special projects. Before arriving at the CIB, he was the Commander of the Fourth Police District. During his career, he has received numerous meritorious awards for outstanding service. Captain Moore holds a Master of Business Administration-Public Administration from Concordia University. In addition, he holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in the Administration of Justice, and an Associate’s Degree in Police Science.

kovac-headshot-20151Ald. Kovac has been alderman for Milwaukee’s 3rd District, which includes the East Side, Riverwest and North Downtown neighborhoods, since April 2008. He serves as chair of the Common Council’s Finance & Personnel Committee and is a member of the Zoning and Neighborhood Development and Capital Improvements Committees.

Kovac’s work extends outside City Hall and throughout his district as chair of the East Side Architectural Review Board and member of the Milwaukee Arts Board, the Milwaukee Public Library Board of Trustees, the Milwaukee County Federated Library Board, the Park East Advisory Committee, the Lakefront Development Advisory Commission and the Riverside University High School Foundation Board of Directors.

Kovac was born and raised on Milwaukee’s East Side in the HWTN area. He attended Milwaukee Public Schools—from McDowell Montessori School to Golda Meir Elementary School, and Jackie Robinson Middle School through Riverside High School. While at Riverside, he earned more than 20 college credits from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Attending Harvard University and graduating cum laude with a degree in mathematics, Kovac became a beat reporter and then a newspaper editor in New York City. He returned to Milwaukee to work for the Shepherd Express and Riverwest Currents.

Area Residents Warned About Carjacking Gang on East Side


UPDATE 12/14/15: The Journal Sentinel ran this article today about recent recent arrests, carjackings and police activities.


UPDATE 12/11/15:

  • We received this information from Ald. Nik Kovac today: “Earlier this week a car that had been stolen two weeks ago on the 2200 block of Webster was recovered by police and two arrests were made. Both were charged with the armed robbery of the vehicle. There are also charges in the armed robbery car theft from this weekend on the 2500 block of Prospect. The police investigation and response will continue.”
  • Another WISN-TV Channel 12 story about the carjackings aired last night. The story included new information from the Milwaukee Police Department and an interview with a victim.


UPDATE 12/9/15: WISN-TV Channel 12 ran this story last night about the carjackings and credited our website with helping inform neighbors about crime in the area.

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.20.36 AM









UPDATE 12/7/15: We received the following new information from Ald. Nik Kovac today:

“There were 20 carjackings in District 1 year to date, but seven were in November alone. County wide (including suburbs) carjackings are up. MPD is working closely with UWMPD and suburban PDs to arrest ringleaders. Have narrowed suspect pool from 270 to 20 in last few weeks. The chief has assigned a 90 day task force to East Side to catch these suspects and stop future offenses. Hopefully we’ll have good news to share soon. Neighbors asked for follow up meeting after the holidays and we will schedule that in early 2016.”



 Area residents learned at a Dec. 2 Town Hall Meeting about a carjacking gang operating on the East Side, including in the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood, and nearby suburbs.

Ald. Nik Kovac this week hosted the Town Hall meeting, which focused on crime issues in our neighborhood. Here is the summary a resident sent in an email circulated to neighbors:

“I attended the Town Hall Meeting at the Library tonight. Captain Eric Moore, Alderman Nik Kovac, the Chief of the UWM campus police, and one of the UWM Deans addressed the audience and answered questions. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss crime trends, nuisance reports, and occupancy rates for District One and UWM neighborhoods. Clearly, foremost on everyone’s minds is the recent crime issue; a topic that consumed nearly all of the two-hour meeting.

Here is a relatively brief description of what was discussed in case you’re interested.

Captain Eric Moore is our new Captain for District One. He opened the meeting by explaining the rise in carjacking and armed robberies is not only a Milwaukee issue, but a countywide and nationwide trend. In District One there have been 20 car hackings this year (this is the lowest for all the districts in Milwaukee but still very high for our District). Seven of those carjackings occurred in the Water Tower and Murray Hill neighborhoods in November alone. Evidently, there was a major surge of carjackings in our neighborhood last month.

Residents of District One voiced their concerns and a task force was put in place as of November 9th. The task force consists of 8-9 additional officers pulled from other districts. This is only a 90-day deployment. I requested that we meet again after the 90 days to reassess the situation and Alderman Kovac and Capt. Moore seemed agreeable to that idea.

Here are the particulars of the carjacking ring in our area. The detectives believe there are 277 offenders involved in the operation. They say the task force has narrowed this down to 20 core leaders and are focusing their attention on apprehending those individuals whom they believe influence the rest of the group. The “unique attraction” to our neighborhood according to Capt. Moore is that we are “compliant,” reasonable, and “genteel” victims. According to Capt. Moore, a Wauwatosa detective told him that one of the carjackers the Wauwatosa police had in custody told him he chose our neighborhood because “we won’t shoot at him.” Nik Kovac quickly interjected that this story was not meant to imply that we all need to get CCW permits.

Capt. Moore said the carjackings happen at any time of day. The carjackers are usually operating in tandem; meaning there are two cars working together to steal more cars. The age of the carjackers range from 11 (yes, 11!) to 19. They are almost exclusively juveniles. They wear dark clothing with hoodies. They target females, often when the victims are looking at their cell phones or are distracted in some way. The carjacking is often their “gateway crime” to armed robbery.

The carjackers are difficult to catch for numerous reasons. For one, victims are not able to identify the carjackers because they’re in shock. The perpetrators can readily escape because they know the police cannot chase them at high speeds. Given that car theft is not considered a violent crime, the MPD cannot engage in a high speed chase putting innocent bystanders at great risk of death or bodily harm. The carjackers use the cars for a joy ride and then sell the cars on the street for use in other crimes such as mobile drug dealing. They get the windows tinted immediately (which only takes about 15 minutes) and temporary license plates are put on the cars. By the time the cars are located, they are totaled and other criminals have used the cars making it difficult to trace back to the original carjacker. The carjackers also want your smart phones to sell on the street. The Captain said it is helpful to the police if you know your smart phone user name and password. He also said to stay vigilant when pulling into your driveway and, if possible, arrange for someone at home to greet you at the garage and turn on lights when you approach. Be especially cautious and aware if parking in alleys.

Alderman Nik Kovac suggested setting up neighborhood email lists to keep neighbors apprised of any suspicious activities/persons or anything else related to the local crime issues we’re currently experiencing. He also mentioned that he has helped several blocks set up a block watch and that if we wanted anything like that he could assist us. Liaison Officer Alba will try to increase the descriptive narrative of the crime reports (as of now it only provides a broad crime category, the location and time; whereas Whitefish Bay and Shorewood police reports include narrative details related to the nature of the crime and the perpetrator(s)).

There were a lot of questions from the audience; some were quite heated. Most concerning was a resident who claimed that he called 911 during a home burglary last week and 45 minutes elapsed before an officer arrived at his home. Capt. Moore acknowledged Milwaukee’s problem with response times. (I suspected it was bad, but 45 minutes for a live break-in was a bit of a shock.) Overall, many residents were quite anxious to find solutions. Capt. Moore assured the group that our concerns are being given great weight by the Chief and he has been instructed to “fix the problem.” It was also evident that Captain Moore and one of his detectives (a woman whose name I didn’t catch) feel that it is incumbent upon us to assist in providing protection in our community by reporting suspicious persons and generally being more aware of our surroundings.

Hope this is slightly more helpful than discouraging.

I must admit I left the meeting with more questions than answers but I’m glad I went and I look forward to hearing more from the new Captain and Alderman Kovac. Feel free to pass this on to anyone else who might find it useful.”

Another HWTN resident sent this in an email to many neighbors after reading the above report:

“Coincidentally, I was just at a meeting today with a woman whose 16 year old daughter was among those car jacked. Poor kid had just gotten her Drivers License that week. They live in Mequon and were having dinner at Pizza Man. She drove down to the East Side to meet her parents for dinner and after parking the car was held face down in the middle of the street at gunpoint by 3 young men who then stole the car and her cell phone. She was luckily not physically hurt but of course the whole thing was a major ordeal. The car was not recovered. 

Very shocking to hear that it can take 45 minutes for police to respond to a call!”

This information parallels news stories about carjackings on the East Side near Oakland Avenue and near Downer Avenue, in Shorewood and in Whitefish Bay.

Bottom line — be aware of your surroundings, keep in touch with neighbors about problems and don’t hesitate to contact the police if you see suspicious behaviors.

Crime Concerns on Tap for Sept. 9 HWTN Meeting with MPD Representative

The Milwaukee Police Department’s Tom Klein, our area’s community liaison officer, will speak and answer questions about crime and crime trends in our neighborhood and the city at our next meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 9, 2015.

patch-thumbThe presentation is part of Historic Water Tower Neighborhood’s next monthly meeting, which is open to the public.

The meeting takes place in Lake Park Pavilion’s Marcia Coles Community Room, (lower level, below Bartolotta’s Lake Park Bistro). Come a little early to chat with neighbors and enjoy cookies and coffee courtesy of Bartolotta’s.

Note: Our meetings are generally held the first Wednesday evening of each month, but due to that night landing before Labor Day this September, we’ve rescheduled the meeting for Sept. 9. Next month, we return to our regular schedule.


Milwaukee police issue warning about car thefts and auto break-ins

Police Advisory: June 22, 2015

The Milwaukee Police Department has emailed us about a rash of recent crimes in our area.

They’re advising residents to be aware of belongings left in autos, and that entries to autos are up.

2509MPD reports that Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth autos are being targeted for theft, and that a group of five to six people are stealing autos and using them for armed robberies in other districts.

For further information, contact Officer Jose A. Alba, District #1 Community Liaison Officer, at 414-935-7701 or jalba@milwaukee.gov.