ESCANABA - Testimony began today in the bench trial of a Wisconsin man accused of breaking into two Subway restaurants in Escanaba in 2012. The defendant is representing himself in Delta County Circuit Court.
Brook Evan Grzelak, 52, of Green Bay, is charged with five counts relating to the Dec. 12, 2012, burglary of the Subways at 536 N. Lincoln Road and 2311 Ludington St.
Grzelak is charged with two counts of safe breaking, two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, and one count of possession of burglar's tools. Each safe-breaking count carries a maximum sentencing of life in prison. The remaining charges are each a 10-year felony.
Today's trial began at 8 a.m. with concerns from Grzelak regarding the judge's knowledge of evidence presented at prior hearings. Judge Stephen Davis clarified that any judgment would be decided solely on evidence provided at this week's trial.
During opening statements, Prosecuting Attorney Steve Parks presented evidence from the investigation including a public safety officer's questioning the plate number of a suspicious vehicle parked behind Elmer's Restaurant on the night of the break-ins. The vehicle was registered in Grzelak's name.
Parks recounted evidence at the two Subway's saying there were surveillance videos of the same suspect in the same clothing at both locations using a grinder to enter both safes.
Grzelak's van was later located in Green Bay. Acting on this information supplied by Escanaba police, Ashwaubenon Police Department in Wisconsin arrested Grzelak on a probation violation. Officers searched his vehicle and found evidence allegedly linking him to the Escanaba Subway burglaries.
Items confiscated by police there included burglary tools, clothing worn by the burglar, and metal plates cut from tops of s afes, said