Man implicated in burglary spree bound over for trial in Ozaukee

Suspect charged with Grafton break-in said he was on extended drug binge
Ozaukee Press staff

A 44-year-old man linked to a series of burglaries in March by his Mini Cooper pleaded not guilty last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court to breaking into a Grafton gas station and stealing more than $4,000 in cigarettes and other merchandise.

Matthew A. Scherper’s plea came after a June 30 preliminary hearing during which Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams bound him over for trial on one felony count of burglary.

Scherper, a Plymouth resident, was arrested on April 4 after he led police on a car chase from Mequon to Glendale that ended with him jumping into the Milwaukee River.

Four days earlier, on March 31, police officers were dispatched to the Gateway Mobil Gas Station at 2601 Washington St. in Grafton to check on an alarm.

They arrived at 4:34 a.m. and discovered that someone had thrown a stone sidewalk paver through the front door. No one was inside the store, but based on a carton of cigarettes that was on the ground, it appeared items had been stolen.

Surveillance video showed the break-in occurred at 4:26 a.m. and a lone person who appeared to be a middle-aged man wearing a cap and jacket — later identified as Scherper based on his own admission — went into the bathroom and removed a garbage can, which he filled with cigarette cartons and carried out of the store, according to the criminal complaint.

The video also showed Scherper re-enter the store and take Brewers and Packers jerseys on hangers and drive away in a dark-colored Mini Cooper, the complaint states.

Gateway Mobile employees confirmed that 48 jerseys and 308 boxes of cigarettes valued at $4,040 were stolen.

After Glendale police used tire spikes to stop Scherper’s car and fished him out of the river on April 4, they searched his car and found packs of cigarettes similar to those stolen from Gateway Mobil, as well as hangers that were similar to the ones stolen with the jerseys, according to the complaint.

Investigations into a string of burglaries revealed similarities.

On March 22, the front door of Grafton Ace Hardware was smashed.

On March 29, a rock was thrown through the front door of an Ace Hardware store in Glendale and a Mini Cooper was seen there. The license plate of the car matched a Mini Cooper that was previously stopped by police with Scherper driving, the complaint states.

Also on March 29, Shorewood police reported a burglary involving a Mini Cooper.

Months earlier, on Nov. 30, 2021, Saukville police conducting a welfare check found Scherper sleeping in a Mini Cooper.

During an April 4 interview, Scherper told police that he burglarized the Gateway Mobil Gas Station in Grafton and traded the jerseys and cigarettes he stole for crack cocaine, according to the complaint.

Scherper also told authorities that he “kind of” remembered the Grafton Ace Hardware burglary, although there was no surveillance video to confirm his involvement, and admitted to burglarizing the Ace Hardware store and a gas station in Glendale, the complaint states.

Scherper said he had been on an extended drug binge, had been living out of his car for the last three weeks and committed the burglaries to obtain not only cocaine but heroin and methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

As of last week’s preliminary hearing, Scherper was being held in the Ozaukee County jail in lieu of a $5,000 signature bond.

He is also charged with two counts of burglary in Milwaukee County.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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