Former Jefferson County deputy sentenced for breaking into homes of funeral-goers

Janelle Gericke's mugshot

JEFFERSON, Wis. —  A former Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy accused of breaking into the homes of people attending funerals was sentenced to two years in prison earlier this month.

Janelle Gericke will also serve three years of extended supervision. She pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and one count of attempted burglary, according to a release by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“The crimes committed in this case were violations of the public trust,” Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a news release sent on Tuesday.

Gericke was arrested in 2019. She is accused of entering or attempting to enter homes of people she had a reason to believe were not there. According to a criminal complaint, Gericke would sometimes use obituaries to find the dates and times of funeral services and enter the homes of surviving relatives during that time window.

Gericke is accused of breaking into several homes, including the home of late Lake Mills Fire Captain Chris Truman, who died in 2018 after he was hit by a vehicle was helping a stranded driver on the Beltline during a snowstorm.

These break-ins occurred between February 2018 to June 2019. About two months after her initial arrest, Gericke was taken into custody in February 2020 on another burglary charge.

A man called police after home surveillance video caught someone breaking into his home. Police questioned Gericke and reported that she was wearing clothes similar to those seen in the security footage.

“I would like to thank the citizens of Jefferson County for their continued trust in the men and women of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office who continue to faithfully serve their community during this difficult time,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath in the release.