Brookfield resident Tony Inzero was at home with his three children around lunchtime on May 30 when one came to him insisting that someone was breaking into their neighbor’s home. At first Inzero was skeptical, however when his older daughter confirmed that the scene looked suspicious he decided to investigate.
Looking out the window himself, Inzero said he saw a man through the brush in the backyard dressed in dark clothing with a dark hoodie on and noticed that there was no car parked in the driveway.
Inzero has known his neighbors since he and his family moved into their home on Candlewood Lake Road in 1998 and knew something was amiss. He has also been more alert since the residence on the other side of his home was burgled about a month earlier.
“It didn’t look right,” he said, and, phone in hand, he approached the house and could hear someone rushing about inside. Inzero dialed 9-1-1 as he neared and while waiting to be connected with Brookfield Police, a man who was not his neighbor stepped out of the house.
With the man approximately 15 to 20 feet away, “I asked him who he was and he wasn’t answering me, he was just smiling at me… a surprised, non-confrontational smile,” he recalled, “With one hand reached behind his back.”
Inzero couldn’t see whether or not the man had a weapon. Either way, the dispatcher on the line with him advised him to keep his distance.
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“He started walking toward me and, at the time, I didn’t understand what was going on,” he said. Then, suddenly, the man turned and ran across the street to his car, parked in another neighbor’s driveway.
“I realized this is what is happening,” that the home was being burglarized, Inzero said, and as the car sped off he relayed the make, model, color and license plate to the police on the phone. At the same time, the other man, later , darted into the woods behind the house.
“My son was ready to go after him,” he said, but Inzero wouldn’t let him go, leaving that to the police, who were en route.
“If you see something, say something,” Brookfield police Maj. Jay Purcell said, commending Inzero’s attentive action but warning against intervening personally. “Be a good witness, don’t try to be the police.”
Purcell advised citizens in such a situation to keep their distance but remember “anything unique about the individuals — clothing, hair styles, birthmarks,” and the vehicle, including “the direction and a description, especially if there’s something unique about it,” like a decal or special bodywork, “especially when it’s a common type of car.”
Inzero was able to give a full description of the car and the direction the second suspect fled, and police are currently following those leads and making progress, however they have yet to make a second arrest in the case.
“If something looks out of the norm, call us,” Purcell said. “But you don’t want to confront them,” as they could potentially be dangerous, “It’s only property, that’s why you have insurance.”