Former Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy charged with felony burglary
JEFFERSON, Wis. — A former Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with one count of felony burglary, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
The criminal complaint against Janeele Gericke alleges that from February 2018 to June 2019, Gericke engaged in a scheme targeting homes she suspected would be empty because the homeowners were often listed as surviving family members of people whose obituaries had been posted online. If confronted, Gericke allegedly would explain that she was at the home to complete a transaction initiated on Facebook Marketplace.
Video surveillance and witnesses gave law enforcement officials reason to believe that the defendant tried to or did enter multiple homes without the owners’ consent.
According to the complaint, in one February 2018 incident a man returned home from a funeral to find a note on his door that read “I was here to pick up the stuff through Facebook. I came in to the house and the items weren’t by the door. So I didn’t leave my money. I tried Facebook messaging you but you haven’t responded.” The note was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory to be tested for fingerprints. The results showed the prints belonged to Gericke.
During another incident in February 2019, a family returned home early from a funeral to find a woman inside the residence. When asked who she was and why she was there, the woman allegedly said she was there to clean the home in response to a Facebook posting. She also said she worked for the Sheriff’s Department, but did not specify which one. She was seen leaving in a gray Chevrolet car that was later confirmed to belong to Gericke.
The complaint included seven incidents police believe Gericke was involved in.
Gericke worked with the Sheriff’s Office from February 2016 until she was fired July 3, 2019, according to a news release.
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