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Man Accused of Helping Friend Break Into Oak Creek Business

34-year-old South Milwaukee man is accused of helping his friend steal from his employer, then stealing a credit card from his wife's friend.

A 34-year-old South Milwaukee man is accused of multiple crimes including concocting a fake break-in at his employer so a friend could steal money.

James J. Taracek was charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court Thursday with conspiracy to commit burglary, theft and unauthorized use of personal identification. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison and $45,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint:

An employee at P&J Bathroom Specialists, 6968 S. 13th St., called police Sept. 23 after finding a smashed window. When other employees looked around the business, they found money had been stolen from a safe, as well as some fixtures.

When officers examined the smashed window, they discovered it was too small for someone to fit through and that Taracek's alarm code was the last one entered the night before. Employees said the alarm had not been set off despite the smashed window.

Taracek first denied involvement, but then said his friend wanted him to help break into the business to conceal the fact he was stealing checks. Taracek said after work he went to his friend’s house and gave him the keys to the business and his alarm code.

Authorities later implicated Taracek in other crimes.

In an unrelated incident, a Wauwatosa woman contacted the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office on Nov. 15 after learning that Taracek, who is the husband of her friend, was arrested at a Lowe's store and had been carrying her credit card.

She looked around the house and discovered she was also missing a diamond ring valued at $3,000. The deputy later found Taracek sold the ring to a jewelry store.

The deputy was also investigating a credit card fraud incident in which Taracek used a stolen card. Taracek admitted to using the card, saying he purchased mostly $100 gift cards.

Taracek will make his initial appearance in court Dec. 17.

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