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Tool thefts take pricey toll on The Home Depot

May 26, 2009

A 36-year-old Milwaukee man who is accused of taking thousands of dollars in tools from Milwaukee-area The Home Depot stores was arrested Friday in Wauwatosa.

During the past month, police say he and another man have taken tool kits from the Wauwatosa, West Allis, Grafton, Kohler, Waukesha and West Bend stores.

According to the Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The men did not change their routine. One entered a store and grabbed a cart. He would put a piece of plywood down, then load up with tool kits and head out the rear emergency door to an awaiting vehicle driven by the accomplice. The men took $36,000 in tools from just the Wauwatosa store in May.

On the most recent attempt, an employee saw the man heading out and stopped him. The man got flustered and abandoned the cart, which was loaded with nearly $1,100 in tools.

Police found drug paraphernalia typically used to shoot heroin in his vehicle. He said he had been using drugs and stealing tools to make money since the poor economy has hurt his carpentry business.

A background check showed he was on probation for retail theft.

He was referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office.

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