ESCANABA - A Green Bay man was found guilty Wednesday on five felonies relating to break-ins at Subway restaurants in Escanaba in 2012.
Delta County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Davis found Brook Evan Grzelak, 52, guilty of two counts of safe-breaking, two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent, and one count of being in possession of burglary tools.
Grzelak will be sentenced in circuit court on June 23. Each safe-breaking count carries a maximum sentencing of life in prison. The other three felonies carry maximum punishments of 10 years in prison.
Davis said he found Grzelak guilty on all five counts "beyond a reasonable doubt" after considering testimony and evidence presented this week. The bench trial took place Monday and Tuesday with Grzelak choosing to represent himself.
Davis said, by looking at all the evidence, it can be determined that Grzelak was the man who entered both Subways and broke into the safes on Dec. 12, 2012. At least $2,810 in cash was stolen from the two restaurants.
A mask, gloves, and a grinder were found in Grzelak's van that were similar to those used by the person in the surveillance videos during the two safe-breakings.
Metal fibers on Grzelak's gloves matched the metal on the safes while fibers found on the safes matched his gloves.
On the day of his arrest, Grzelak was wearing a jacket and shoes "strikingly similar" to those of the burglar on the video, said Davis.
Also found in Grzelak's van were three customer checks dated Dec. 11, 2012, and written out to one of the local Subways.
Phone records showed the defendant was in Escanaba a few hours before the break-ins occurred. Police had observed his van in a parking lot in Escanaba that night and ran the plates on the suspicious vehicle.
Following investigation into the local break-ins, Escanaba Public Safety issued warnings to other law enforcement throughout the region to be on the lookout for similar break-ins at Subways.
Using information gained from the suspicious vehicle in Escanaba, Grzelak was arrested on a probation violation six days later in Green Bay. Police confiscated the clothing, burglary tools, and checks that linked him to the break-ins.
Following his convictions on Wednesday, Grzelak told the judge he would like to start working on an appeal. Davis advised him the court could appoint him an attorney.
Grzelak remains lodged in Delta County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.
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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, firstname.lastname@example.org