It appears that Bay View and south side Milwaukee residents, business owners, and their patrons can breathe a sigh of relief. The criminals terrorizing the area for months are in custody.
Six thugs have been charged for the string of robberies.
The five men and one woman facing charges of armed robbery with threat of force are Paul Asik Jr., 30; Xavier Perez, 18; Brendaly Gonzalez, 19; Angel DeJesus, 21; Carmelo Vaszquez Jr., 32 and Christian Colon, 19.
Colon is also charged with felony murder and sexual assault. Gonzalez is he only suspect without a prior criminal record in Wisconsin.
So, the Bay View Bandit turned out to be a band of bandits. That should come as no surprise, given the various descriptions of the robbers.
As suspected, Colon was involved with the murder of Nicholas G. Knutowski during an attempted robbery at Marty's Party tavern. That was back in early January, many crimes ago.
Thankfully, the police finally got this 19-year-old terror off the streets. A 19-year-old murderer!
Sadly, it wasn't soon enough to save Knutowski's life.
Note that five of the six have a prior criminal record. They aren't rookies.
The six people charged so far are among more than a dozen arrested for the robberies. That's a lot of bad guys put away -- at least for now.
Although the crimes are being solved and the criminals are being held accountable, I wonder about the long term effects of the crime crisis.
I wonder if there will be any lasting impact on the area because of all the robberies.
Will people ever feel as safe as they once did?
I suppose people will eventually relax, as long as there's not another string of robberies.
People will probably feel comfortable again; but I don't think it will be the same.
Once innocence is lost it's lost forever.
The robberies were the work of the Spanish Cobras.
The arrests of suspects believed to be linked to the South Side Spanish Cobras gang cleared nearly 40 armed robberies that stretched across Milwaukee and nearby suburban communities where small businesses and customers were targeted by masked men wielding guns for months.
Twelve people have been arrested in the crimes which were heavily publicized in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood but have since been connected to several communities, including St. Francis, South Milwaukee, Cudahy, West Allis, Greenfield, West Milwaukee, Glendale, Wauwatosa and Waterford in Racine County, Milwaukee police Deputy Chief Brian O'Keefe said today.
O'Keefe said police continue to seek more suspects in the cases, however, six people ranging in age from 18 to 32 have been charged so far in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
Gang activity is not new to Milwaukee.
Read more here and here and here.
The Milwaukee Police Department has spent decades trying to dismantle the gangs.
It seems with each step forward there's two steps back.
You'd think leaders would make the issue a priority. You'd think.