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BURLINGTON — An investigation into a break-in and theft at the Wisconsin Vision Center in Burlington last month led to six criminal charges – including two felonies – filed against a 33-year-old Burlington man.

Wisconsin Vision Center warehouse break-in and theft in Burlington
Wisconsin Vision in Burlington – Credit: WVC photos via Google, 2019

Richard Schuler remains in custody in the Racine County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond.

Schuler is charged with felony counts of burglary and theft, both as a party to a crime, which carries a total combined possible prison term of 22 years, six months and a $50,000 fine.

In addition, Schuler is charged with misdemeanor counts of entry into a locked coin box, theft by acquisition of a credit card, criminal damage to property and possession of a controlled substance.

The criminal complaint: break-in and theft

Police spoke with two employees after the theft, who stated they found the CEO’s safe was ajar with obvious signs of forced entry. Within the safe were seven Target gift cards for $100 apiece and 30 Best Buy cards for $25 each.

One of the employees contacted Target and was told the gift cards were used in Lake Geneva to purchase a PlayStation 5 by the defendant, the complaint states. The order was placed on March 17, the same morning of the break-in and theft at Wisconsin Vision Center.

The complaint also indicates that Schuler has been a warehouse employee at Wisconsin Vision Center for the last 15 years. Police contacted the defendant while he was working, but he “appeared nervous and began to walk away quickly.”

Schuler also refused to answer any questions.

Wisconsin Vision Center warehouse break-in and theft in Burlington
The warehouse at WVC in Burlington. – Credit: WVC photos via Google, 2019

Police search recovery

During a search of his vehicle, police found 21 Best Buy gift cards in Schuler’s coat and five Target gift cards in the lower cup holder. The activation codes on those cards matched those that had been stolen.

Police also found:

  • One empty Target bag with an order sticker number attached, which matched the order number that was picked up by the defendant, on the front passenger seat floorboard.
  • One GameStop invoice for a separate Playstation purchase.
  • One Target receipt from the same day the Playstation was purchased from Target.
  • One $20 bill, and one $10 bill, located in the front left pocket of the defendant’s winter coat on the passenger seat.
  • Two Vanilla Visa gift cards, and one Target gift card, located on the floorboard on the driver’s side.
  • 28 pairs of sunglasses and glasses, located in the trunk of the vehicle. It was later confirmed that these belonged to WVC and they were taken without consent. Each item was valued at approximately $225, totaling $6,300 of stolen glasses.
  • Three Rescue 950 Battery Jump Packs, two located in the trunk, one on the floorboard of the backseat. These were also confirmed to have been taken from WVC without their consent. Each piece was valued at $400, for a total loss of $1,200.

A search of the defendant’s home was also subsequently conducted, and the following were located:

  • A PlayStation 5, right inside the front door.
  • Four cardboard boxes that contained hundreds of lenses used to fill eyeglass orders at WVC. WVC did not consent to the defendant taking these lenses and estimated the loss at approximately $10,000.
  • One pill bottle with no label containing eight orange and blue Vyvanse capsules on the defendant’s bedroom dresser.
  • One other pill bottle on the dresser with no label, containing 28 white capsules of Vyvanse.
  • A green and black rubber wax capsule, which tested positive for THC, on the nightstand in the defendant’s bedroom.

The total gift card loss was $1,450. The forced-open safe was worth approximately $65. The total loss to WVC is approximately $12,000.

Schuler is due back in Racine County Circuit Court on May 24, for a 9 a.m. preliminary hearing.

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