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$1 million bail set for ex-cop accused of hiding bodies in suitcases

June 27, 2014 7:52 p.m. | Elkhorn — A Walworth County judge set bail at $1 million Friday for Steven M. Zelich, the former West Allis police officer accused of hiding the corpses of two women found in suitcases early this month near Lake Geneva.

Zelich's image was projected live on a television screen as he sat impassively during his first court appearance. He has been accused of hiding the two bodies — one of them for more than a year — putting them in suitcases, and dumping them on the side of a country road in the Town of Geneva June 5.

Although Zelich was not charged with homicide, Circuit Judge David M. Reddy set the high bail in light of Zelich's alleged confession Wednesday, when police say he told them that he killed the women and hid their bodies in his West Allis apartment. The high bail was necessary to ensure public safety and to prevent future intimidation of witnesses, the judge said.

Friday's hearing provided the first public glimpse of Zelich since he was arrested Wednesday morning at Johnson Controls in Glendale, where he worked as an employee of a private security firm. He was charged Thursday with two felony counts of hiding a corpse, each of which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit during the 15-minute hearing, with his hands folded on a table and a guard standing behind him, Zelich showed no signs of emotion and barely moved, aside from twiddling his thumbs. He stared at the camera and listened attentively as District Attorney Daniel Necci described how Zelich told police he killed 37-year-old Laura Simonson of Farmington, Minn., and a second woman, referred to in court documents as Jane Doe.

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West Allis man arrested for connection to bodies found in suitcases

June 27, 2014 2:30 p.m. | A neighbor of the former West Allis cop accused of killing two woman and stuffing their bodies into a suitcase expressed shock at the brutal murders.

LeeRoy Wagner lives in a duplex around the corner from Steven Zelich's apartment building. He said he's spent his entire adult life living in that West Allis neighborhood.

"It's a terrible thing, really," he said. "You wonder how it can happen, you know?"

Zelich, 52, of West Allis, was taken into custody at his apartment in the 8000 block of W. Lincoln Avenue, according to a news release from Town of Geneva Police Chief Steven Hurley.

Wagner said in all the 37 years he's been living in the duplex, nothing like the crime Zelich is accused of committing ever happened.

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Man finds bullet in package of egg rolls

June 25, 2014 7:52 a.m. | A man was looking to take a bite out of an egg roll, but instead he chomped down a bullet June 19.

According to the Greenfield police report:

The man told police that his daughter bought an unopened package of egg rolls from Greenfield Pick 'n Save. He went to eat one about 6:30 a.m. June 19, but he bit into the bullet inside one.

The man confirmed that the packaging was still intact before he opened it. He told police there were no incidents around the house in the 9100 block of West Allerton Avenue in which a bullet could have become lodged in the food.

The man was advised to contact Pick 'n Save and the manufacturer of the egg rolls to report the incident.

Milwaukee suburbs Fourth of July 2014 celebrations

June 20, 2014 9:30 a.m. |  

Bayside

  • Parade: 9 a.m. July 4, the annual parade begins at Standish Place entrance to Bayside Middle School.

City of Brookfield

  • Parade: 10 a.m. July 4. Starting at Gebhardt Rd. to Calhoun Rd. onto North Ave. The parade will be followed by an ice cream social at the Civic Plaza, 2000 North Calhoun Rd.
  • Family Fest: 6 to 9 p.m. July 4, family fun with live entertainment, inflatables and food for all to enjoy at Mitchell Park, 19900 River Rd.
  • Fireworks: 9:15 p.m. July 4 at Mitchell Park.

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Social media photos of the June 18 storms around Southeast Wisconsin

June 18, 2014 3:53 p.m. | Severe weather, from rain to hail to flooding, arrived in southeastern Wisconsin on Tuesday morning.

Residents shared their views of the storms on social media, and we compiled some of the best photos for you.

View them in the June 18 storms around Southeast Wisconsin Storify story.

Woman cited for loud noise for using speaker phone after police warning

June 16, 2014 9:28 a.m. | A woman was cited for loud and unnecessary noise after she was warned for using her speaker phone function outside about 1 a.m. June 7.

According to the Greenfield police report:

An anonymous caller reported a female was yelling loudly in a backyard in the 4000 block of South 43rd Street at about 1:05 a.m. June 7.

The responding officer found the female, age not released, and found she was talking loudly on her phone with the speaker function on.

The officers told her not to use the speaker phone function on her phone unless she was inside her residence, because it created an unnecessary amount of noise.

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Carjacked dog is found on Milwaukee's southwest side

June 13, 2014 11:34 a.m. | A lost dog has been reunited with its owner after being stolen during a carjacking Wednesday night.

Teddy, a 5-pound bichon-poodle mix, was reunited with its owner Friday morning after it was found wandering around 54th and Ohio streets on Milwaukee's southwest side and brought to the Greenfield police station, according to the Greenfield Police Department.

Two male suspects pulled the owner from her vehicle when she parked about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the 3400 block of S. Crandon Place in Greenfield, according to police. Two dogs were inside the vehicle. One jumped out, but Teddy was trapped as the suspects fled with the vehicle.

The stolen vehicle was later found, but the dog was missing.

Crews clear crash that closed 2 left lanes of northbound I-43 in Greenfield

June 13, 2014 8:38 a.m. | Crews have cleared a crash that closed the two left lanes of northbound Interstate 32 at S. 60th St. in Greenfield for about a half hour Friday. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office responded.

2nd suspect sought in string of armed robberies, carjacking

June 12, 2014 10:09 p.m. | Authorities are searching for the second suspect in a string of armed robberies last month in Milwaukee, West Milwaukee and Franklin.

An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for Norman Smith III, 24, who faces four counts of armed robbery. His co-defendant, James J. Gill, 20, was charged in the same robberies. Milwaukee police officers arrested Gill last Friday.

Police say the men began a robbery spree May 25 when they robbed two women at gunpoint in the 4800 block of W. Hampton Ave. and stole their purses and phones.

Three days later, the men robbed a woman as she was trying to get her 1-year-old child out of the car, which was parked in a Walmart lot in West Milwaukee, according to a criminal complaint. Gill pointed a gun at the woman's abdomen, police say, and demanded money and her purse. The woman turned over her cellphone, begging the man to let her get her baby out of the car, and the two suspects fled in an SUV.

Gill and Smith are charged with two other armed robberies later that same day, May 28.

» Read Full Article

Carjackers take off with woman's dog still in car

June 12, 2014 3:01 p.m. | Two men threw a woman to the ground, hit her and stole her vehicle, with her dog still inside, Greenfield police said.

The woman told police that two male suspects in a dark-colored van followed her vehicle about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday and when she parked in the 3400 block of S. Crandon Place, they pulled her from her vehicle, according to a police news release.

The woman's two dogs were inside the car and before the suspects drove away in her vehicle, one of the dogs jumped out but the other dog, named Teddy, was trapped as the suspects fled.

Greenfield police officers found the stolen vehicle abandoned near W. Morgan Ave. and S. 43rd St. but the dog was missing.

Anyone with information about the suspects or missing dog, a 5-pound Bichon-Poodle mix, is asked to call Greenfield police at (414) 761-5301 or call anonymously at (800) 78-CRIME.

Police identify woman killed in West Allis crash

June 06, 2014 3:49 p.m. | Police on Friday identified the 61-year-old woman who died in a single vehicle crash Thursday in West Allis.

Lori Rose Hutton of West Allis died after her car drifted to the right and struck a utility pole and a tree before rolling over, according to a news release from the West Allis Police Department. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash was reported shortly before 8 p.m. at S. 108th and W. Becher streets.

Investigators have not determined the factors contributing to the crash, according to the release.

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