New Berlin man charged with theft of tools from ex-employer in Union Grove

A former employee of a Union Grove asphalt company is accused of taking more than $6,500 in a burglary 11 days after he was terminated.

Shawn M. Fanning, 41, New Berlin was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court with a felony count of burglary of a building, along with two misdemeanor counts of theft and one misdemeanor count of entry into a locked building.

The felony carries a fine of $25,000 and 12 years, six months in prison, while each of the misdemeanors carries a fine of $10,000 and nine months in county jail.

According to the criminal complaint: A deputy with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department responded to Asphalt Contractors, 21750 Durand Ave., Union Grove, on July 16. He met with the owner, who stated that a power cutter worth about $1,300 had been discovered missing. When he checked the security video, he saw a male driving a red vehicle take the saw and place it in his car.

The owner said that Fanning drove a vehicle that matched that description.

In addition to the cutter, the owner said that several other tools with a total value of $5,215 were missing. Some had been taken from another location at 925 Church St., which didn’t have a surveillance video, but was kept locked and needed an access code to enter, the owner stated.

An investigator located a number of the stolen items at Pawn America in West Allis. A video showed Fanning selling those items.
The defendant denied taking the items. Police spoke to his ex-girlfriend, who stated he had a heroin addiction and advised he admitted to taking the items to her.

Police listened to calls he made to her from the Racine County Jail, and he stated everything he had stolen had been pawned in West Allis.

Fanning made his initial court appearance Tuesday. He is due back for a preliminary hearing Nov. 21 at 9 a.m.

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Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.