A former Wisconsin sheriff's deputy, who allegedly used local obituaries to steal from mourning families, returned to court on Wednesday after she was caught on video breaking into another home.
Janelle Gericke, 29, allegedly entered a Jefferson, Wisconsin house and stole hydrocodone pills from the victim's bathroom on Monday morning.
She had been out of jail on $10,000 bond at the time, accused of breaking into the homes of several Wisconsin families during the funerals for their loved ones.
At around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 24, Jefferson police officers responded to a reported burglary and met with the victim, who received a notification from his security system that someone was trying to enter his house. Though no one was present when the victim arrived, security footage showed a white woman on the property, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
The victim and responding Jefferson Police Lieutenant Alan Richter had reason to believe the woman in the video was Gericke; both men claim they recognized her based on the "approximate size, height, weight, and physical features" of the suspect.
Richter, along with Jefferson Police Detective Eric Weiss, visited Gericke at her residence later in the day. While she claimed she had been at home with her child, the officers noted she had on the same outfit the burglar wore in the surveillance video, according to the criminal complaint.
In the court appearance on Wednesday, a cash bond was set at $2,000. Gericke will be kept under home confinement with GPS monitoring, according to the case file obtained by Oxygen.com. She now faces a felony bail-jumping charge and another burglary charge.
Gerrick was hired as a deputy in the Jail Division at the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in 2016. While on the force between February 2018 and June 2019, she allegedly scanned local obituaries for mourning families who would be out of the house for funeral services and robbed them.
There were multiple instances in which she was allegedly seen in person and on security footage outside entering people's homes, the original complaint, also obtained by Oxygen.com, states. In addition to targeting grieving relatives, she's also accused of setting her sights on coworkers, acquaintances, and one deceased man.
Gericke was eventually fired in July 2019.
“The Sheriff’s Office refuses to let events like this define itself and call into question the goodness of the people who work so hard every day to serve this community with honor and pride,” police said in a statement at the time.
“Jefferson County Sheriff Paul Milbrath and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office apologize to the people that they serve for the embarrassment and mistrust that this individual may have caused."
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