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Man charged with fleeing Waukesha Police, copper theft

Man, 64, allegedly crashed into an I-94 overpass during car chase

July 30, 2013

A 64-year-old Milwaukee man was charged July 19 in Waukesha County with attempting to flee pursuing officers after he allegedly stole copper wire from a Waukesha business.

According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha City Police were alerted by a witness to the alleged theft at 8 a.m. on June 15. The witness said a man wearing a striped shirt had stolen the copper and then fled in an older blue station wagon.

An officer spotted the vehicle traveling on Highway 164 toward East Broadway Street and began pursuit. At a red light the officer noted the vehicle's license plate and tried pulling the station wagon over.

The vehicle turned and accelerated to 55 miles per hour on East Moreland Boulevard before eventually entering onto I-94 east, according to the complaint. The station wagon reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour on the highway, according to the complaint, and struck an overpass after jumping a curb. The vehicle eventually exited onto Moorland Road. The officer decided to discontinue the pursuit, which spanned 6.8 miles, because of safety concerns.

The registered owner of the vehicle told police that she loaned the car to her boyfriend, Johnnie Landers, the morning of the chase, the complaint states. An officer identified Landers as the driver based on a booking photo.

PMI Energy Solutions later told police that $500 of copper was missing from a pick up truck belonging to the company.

Landers previously pleaded guilty in 2011 to felony theft and was sentenced to one year in prison and one year extended supervision, according to online court records. That sentence was suspended in lieu of 18 months probation.

Landers could face more than 10 years in prison and $20,000 in fines if convicted.

He is expected to make an initial appearance in court Aug. 5.

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