On February 3, 2014 at approximately 4:40 p.m. an officer on patrol saw David Ortiz, 24 from Sparta, walking in the 300 block of “L” Street. The officer was familiar with Ortiz and believed a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The officer checked and confirmed that La Crosse County had an outstanding warrant that had been issued October 24, 2013 for Retail Theft/Contempt of Court. Ortiz was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Jail.
The Sparta Police Department has concluded two retail theft investigations that were reported by Walmart Loss Prevention in early January and arrested Samuel Ambrosini, 26 from Sparta. Walmart employees provided SPD with video surveillance from late December depicting two separate occasions where Ambrosini and his girlfriend, Brittany Gebhardt, 26 from Sparta, can be seen concealing large dollar items and then removing the security devices attached to them. The footage also shows the two of them leaving the store without paying for the concealed items. Ambrosini was recently arrested on a warrant and is currently being held in the Monroe County Jail. The Department has forwarded the case to the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office and is seeking Retail Theft charges against Gebhardt for her involvement in the thefts. The stolen merchandise was valued at approximately $700.
On February 1, 2014 at approximately 3:20 a.m. an officer on patrol saw Edward Bobnar, 29 from Sparta, walking on Walrath Street. The officers were familiar with Bobnar and discovered he had bond conditions that prohibited him from being outside his residence between 7:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. The conditions were imposed after Bobnar’s recent arrest at Walmart for Retail Theft and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. When stopped, Bobnar claimed he was walking to the hospital to get prescription adjusted. Bobnar was arrested for Bail Jumping and taken to the Monroe County Jail.
On January 31, 2014 at approximately 8:10 p.m. an employee of the Best Western received a complaint from one of their quests that smoking and a possible underage drinking party was occurring in one of the rooms. Officers made contact with the occupants and found they had been drinking, but neither was underage; however, Troy Fowler, 27 from Camp Douglas, was wanted on a Monroe County warrant. The warrant was issued on January 9, 2014 after he failed to appear for a child support hearing. Fowler was arrested and taken to the Monroe County Jail. Fowler had also violated rules of his probation by consuming alcohol.
Over the weekend a local business received a phone call from someone claiming to be from Xcel Energy. The caller claimed the business’s electricity would be shut off in 30 minutes if the business didn’t call a specific telephone number starting with an 866 area code. These types of calls are typically scams designed to lure a person into revealing personal and/or financial account information, typically a credit card number. If you receive a call like this and are concerned about it, don't call the 866 number! Instead, contact the business using a published number and inquire about the status of your account. The business will be able to verify your account information without you providing any credit card number or banking information.
The Sparta Water Utility is requesting all city residents connected to City Water run their cold water to prevent their pipes from freezing. Please run a stream of water the size of a pencil in one cold water faucet. DO NOT shut off until the Utility announces that it is safe even if the weather warms. The frost drives deeper when the temperature warms. We will announce in the Sparta Herald, Monroe County Democrat and on WCOW radio station when it is safe to shut off. You will receive a water & sewer credit for this usage. Please contact us at (608) 269-4340 Ext 226 or Ext 227 if you have any questions. Thank you for your cooperation.
On January 30, 2014 at approximately 7:15 a.m. officers received a tip that Vincent Bell, 25 from Sparta, was just seen at 214 Jefferson St. Bell was wanted on a warrant and was featured yesterday in the police department’s Wanted Wednesday segment. The caller saw the wanted poster on the SPD facebook site and called the police immediately upon knowing of Bell’s whereabouts. Officers went to the Jefferson Street address and arrested Bell on the Department of Corrections warrant without incident.
On January 28, 2014 at approximately 9:30 p.m. an officer on patrol was driving on Wisconsin Street when he saw a vehicle suddenly change lanes and turn onto a side street. A registration check of the vehicle showed it belonged to a Sparta resident and recent Crime Stoppers tip claimed Samuel Ambrosini, 26 from Sparta, was often in the vehicle. Ambrosini was wanted on a felony warrant and was recently featured on SPD’s Wanted Wednesday segment. The officer stopped the vehicle after the driver, Brittany Gebhardt, 26 from Sparta, made a couple of traffic violations. Ambrosini was a passenger in the vehicle and the officer quickly recognized him. Ambrosini was taken into custody on the Department of Corrections warrant and a search of his person turned up drug paraphernalia and a device used to unlock security features at retail stores. Additional charges for those violations may be added by the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is reporting information of a possible scam. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received information of someone calling county residents claiming to be with the Monroe County Service and Process Dept. The caller is claiming the call is reference to fraud charges. The phone number given (shown) is 888-742-4044. If someone calls the number back they get a message that’s says “Mutual” and you have to leave a message.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is not making any such calls nor do we have anyone making them for us. We want to make the public aware of this activity. Also as a reminder the Sheriff’s Office wants to remind people that scams are always an issue throughout the county.
Please be aware of suspicious calls of people asking personal information (IE: Social Security numbers, personal identifying information, credit card number verifications, credit card security codes, etc.). These calls are often scams. If you do not know who the caller is, then there is a good chance it is a scam. We notice issues of this nature increase during tax refund season.
If you have received calls like this you can report them to www.ic3.gov. If yon have any questions of these kinds of issues please call the Sherif’s Office (608) 269-2117.
Prepared by: Detective Sergeant Ronald D. Rader
Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
On January 27, 2014 at approximately 2:00 p.m. an employee of Monroe County Justice Sanction Bond Monitoring Program reported Robert Sanders, 44 from Sparta, tested positive for alcohol consumption which violated conditions of his bond. Officers verified the conditions and Sanders admitted to consuming vodka the previous night. Sanders was arrested for Bail Jumping and taken to the Monroe County Jail.
On January 25, 2014 at approximately 12:45 p.m. an officer on patrol saw a vehicle parked in a handicap parking stall at Kwik Trip without a Disabled Parking Permit. The driver came out of the store and told the officer he only parked there because he had to use the restroom and hadn’t seen the handicapped parking sign. The driver was identified as Michael Witwer, 35 from Sparta, and the officer discovered his vehicle registration was suspended and that he was wanted on a Monroe County warrant. The warrant had been issued January 8, 2014 for Issuance of Worthless Checks. Witwer was arrested on the warrant and issued citations for Operating with Suspended Registration, Operating without Insurance, and Illegally Parking in a Handicapped Zone.
On January 26, 2014 at approximately 11:50 a.m. officers went to the residence of Timothy Schmitt, 24 from Sparta, after learning Monroe County had issued a warrant for his arrest. The warrant had been issued on January 15, 2014 after he failed to appear for a Child Support Hearing. Schmitt was not home at the time; however, a phone number was provided by another resident and the officers were able to talk with Schmitt and inform him of the warrant. At approximately 12:15 p.m. Schmitt arrived at the residence and tuned himself over to the waiting officers.
On January 24, 2014 at approximately 8:35 p.m. an officer on patrol saw a vehicle registered to Charles Poirier, 35 from Sparta, being driven on Water Street. The officer was aware that the Department of Corrections had issued a warrant for Poirier’s arrest and saw that he was a passenger in the car. The car was stopped and Poirier was taken into custody without incident.
On January 25, 2014 at approximately 1:50 a.m. a Walmart employee stopped Edward Bobnar, 29 from Sparta, as he attempted to exit the store with unpaid merchandise. While the employee was talking with the Dispatcher, Bobnar pulled a hatchet from his coat and just starred at the employee. When officers arrived they found Bobnar still holding the hatchet, but he dropped it when commanded to do so by the officers. According to Walmart employees, Bobnar and Olivia Puent, 22 from Sparta, had been in the store on previous occasions and were suspected of taking items from the Pharmacy area. Today an employee saw the two of them enter the store and watched as Bobnar placed boxes of cough syrup in his pocket and then proceeded past the checkouts without paying for the items. Bobnar was arrested for Retail Theft, Carrying a Concealed Weapon, and Bail Jumping. Puent was not arrested, but may face Bail Jumping charges as she has bond conditions that prohibit her from associating with drug dealers or users.
On January 19, 2014 at approximately 9:15 p.m. a parent called police believing her children were exposed to marijuana while at their father’s home. According to the complainant she could smell the odor of marijuana when she picked up the kids and feared the children, ages 5 and 7, may have been exposed to the illegal substance. Investigating officers assessed the children then proceeded to 1200 River Road where they met with, Dustin Walters, 24 from Sparta. The officers also smelled the odor of marijuana and Walters admitted that he had smoked some earlier, but not when the children were present. Walters surrendered a small amount of marijuana and smoking devices to the officers. Walters was cited for Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Officers were unable to determine the extent of the exposure, but Monroe County Human Services Child Protection was advised of the situation.