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Officer's hand broken following chase with shoplifter

Incident is third one in two-week period

April 13, 2010

A 44-year-old Milwaukee man led officers on vehicle and foot chases and broke an officer's hand in a struggle, all to get away with deodorant sprays and sticks that he had taken from Walgreens on Mayfair Road on Saturday, police said.

This was the third incident of suspects fleeing from Wauwatosa police in the past two weeks.

According to police:

The man concealed 18 deodorant items in his pockets and walked out of the store. He crossed Mayfair Road and waited until he believed the manager had stopped looking for him and walked back into the drug store lot to get his car. Officers caught up to his vehicle in the 10400 block of Fisher Parkway at 5:47 p.m.

The vehicle slowed as the street reached a dead end and the officer walked toward the vehicle. However, the vehicle made an abrupt U-turn and started to accelerate. While it was picking up speed, the passenger door of the vehicle opened and a man rolled onto the pavement.

Officer injured in struggle

The one-minute pursuit ended a half-mile away on Jackson Park Boulevard, another dead-end street. This time the man drove into a driveway and ran out of his vehicle. An officer used his electronic control device, but it had no effect on the suspect, who turned and ran through the backyard. Then, he stopped and turned around in a fighting stance, and he and the officer struggled. The officer's hand was broken in the fight, but he was able to apprehend and handcuff the suspect.

The man was arrested for retail theft, fleeing, resisting arrest, parole violation and drunken driving. His blood-alcohol content was 0.09, over the legal limit for drivers.

Suspect involved in drugs

In an interview with the 46-year-old passenger, he said the two men use heroin and crack cocaine. The driver had been kicked out by his wife and was living in his car. While at Walgreens, the passenger said he purchased beer and a gift for his girlfriend, then returned to the car. He didn't know his friend was stealing.

After his arrest, the driver said he took the deodorants to sell on the street and planned to use any proceeds to buy drugs. A search of his vehicle resulted in two crack pipes, syringes and a bottle of liquor.

A look into his criminal history showed six retail theft and two fleeing convictions.

Two other recent chases

That incident happened one day after another chase that occurred when an officer came across a stolen vehicle while on patrol in the 2900 block of Mayfair Road. The vehicle had been taken from Brookfield Square Shopping Center and used in several retail thefts.

The driver noticed the officer following him at 106th Street and Auer Avenue, so he accelerated and led police on a 94-second pursuit that covered 1.6 miles and topped out at 90 mph.

Meanwhile, police were still looking for Gary Duke, 35, of West Bend, who led police on a car chase through Wauwatosa and into Brookfield, where the vehicle crashed on March 31. A felony arrest warrant for fleeing from officers has been issued for Duke, said Lt. Dominic Leone.

In that incident, an officer on patrol at Underwood Parkway and Watertown Plank Road noticed that a vehicle's license plate showed its owner had warrants for theft and felony parole violation.

The officer tried to stop the vehicle. As it pulled over, a beer can was thrown from the window and the car was turned off. But as the officer approached, Duke started up the engine, accelerated and made a U-turn, and drove away.

Chase reaches 110 mph

The resulting chase covered 7.4 miles in nearly 6 1/2 minutes, with Duke driving 110 mph at one point. He drove through construction zones, commercial and residential neighborhoods, onto and off Highway 45, through red lights and past vehicles on the roadway.

Eventually, the vehicle skidded out of control trying to make right turn and landed on the lawn of Dennis' Towing, 13990 W. Lisbon Ave. in Brookfield. The vehicle struck a traffic signal and broke a power line pole so the electrical lines were sparking.

At that point, Duke got out of the vehicle and ran into a wooded area. The immediate safety hazard made it difficult to continue the chase. A police dog was brought out but by that time the trail was lost.

Two passengers remained in the vehicle, a 29-year-old Milwaukee man, who was Duke's cousin and his 23-year-old girlfriend from Wauwatosa.

The couple said they had asked to be let out but his cousin did not speak during the entire pursuit. Duke has an extensive criminal history of 34 adult arrests and was under the supervision of Wisconsin Department of Correction prior to the pursuit.

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