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18-year-old charged in brutal brass knuckles beating told investigators he was “peer pressured” into attack

Corleon Thomas

MILWAUKEE — Formal charges have been filed against an 18-year-old man in connection with a brutal beating with brass knuckles during an attempted robbery and carjacking outside Pacific Produce in Greenfield. The suspect was arrested on August 8th, following the pursuit of a stolen vehicle which ended in Glendale, and prosecutors have linked him to five stolen vehicles — taken between late July and early August.

A criminal complaint filed against 18-year-old Corleon Thomas indicates police spoke with a woman who indicated on July 19th, she returned home near 26th and Wright after midnight and realized vehicles in her driveway weren’t parked properly so that people could leave in the morning, so she was working to move vehicles. She said two black males walked towards her on the sidewalk — and she had left one of the vehicles running while she moved another.

The woman told investigators the male suspects “rushed at her and pushed her to the ground.” She said she screamed as loudly as she could, and covered her head. She said she was punched in the head and her body was kicked until she dropped the keys.

Corleon Thomas

The suspects were able to get away with a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and a 2013 Toyota Corolla.

The complaint indicates Thomas confessed that he was present during this robbery. He said he was walking with a friend, when the friend said he wanted to steal a car. He said his friend snatched the keys to the Hyundai from the victim, and the victim fell when chasing his friend. He said his friend threw him the keys to the Corolla and he took off in that vehicle.

Two days later, on July 21st, police were dispatched to Pacific Produce, near 27th and Grange in Greenfield. There, they spoke with a victim who indicated she parked, and spent five to 10 minutes in her vehicle checking her phone. As she exited, the door was yanked open by a black male suspect who “immediately began punching (the victim) in the head with his fist using brass knuckles.” The victim said she was punched five to six times in the head, and the suspect then tried yanking her out of the vehicle by her leg — breaking her sandal. This, as a female was yelling “grab the purse! Grab the purse!”

The victim said as she fought to hang onto her purse, the straps broke, and the man continued striking her on the head as she reached into her purse for pepper spray. She said she sprayed the male suspect fully in the face and he fled with the female suspect.

A pair of bloody brass knuckles was recovered at the scene.

Attempted robbery, carjacking in Greenfield near 27th and Grange

Victim of attempted robbery, carjacking in Greenfield

The complaint indicates the victim suffered significant injuries to her face, including lacerations, swelling and trauma.

According to the complaint, Thomas told investigators he’d been “peer pressured” into the attack. He said the female suspect spotted the victim sitting in her car, and Thomas admitted he walked over to the victim’s car “in order to take (the victim’s) purse.” He said the victim asked him what he was doing and “tried to push and punch him first.” He said he put the brass knuckles on only after he was hit by the victim first. After he was pepper sprayed, he said “he didn’t care about getting the purse anymore.”

Five days later, police learned of a 2014 Buick LaCrosse that had been stolen. That vehicle was tracked using OnStar to a location near 84th and Congress. There, police observed a black male jump out of the driver’s seat and run from officers.

Four cell phones were recovered from that Buick. While police were investigating, one of the phones rang, and the caller asked for Corleon Thomas. Additionally, police recovered a fingerprint from Thomas in the vehicle.

Corleon Thomas

Two days later, on July 28th, investigators were conducting surveillance near Keefe and Roosevelt in their effort to arrest Thomas. The complaint indicates Thomas saw undercover squads and fled on foot — jumping into a 2012 Toyota Camry, which was already in motion. The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed. This vehicle had been reported stolen one day prior. It was later found abandoned, and Thomas’ fingerprints were recovered from the bottom of a CD and a McDonald’s plastic cup.

Four days later, on August 1st, the complaint indicates a victim said he was pumping gas near 6th and Becher — leaving his keys in the ignition as he paid for the gas. That’s when a suspect entered the vehicle on the passenger side, and there was a fight as the owner tried to prevent the vehicle from being taken.

The complaint indicates the suspect struck the victim in the face, knocking his glasses off and preventing him from seeing clearly. A second suspect then entered the vehicle on the passenger side — and the victim began striking this person with a stick. A third suspect pulled the victim away from the passenger side of the vehicle — and they took off.

The victim said he smashed the back windshield of the vehicle the suspects arrived in, and as he tried to hit the front windshield with the stick, he observed a suspect on the driver’s side who appeared to be waving a handgun.

A nearby business owner said he tried to help the victim — displaying his BB gun which appeared to be a semi-automatic firearm and ordered the suspects to stop their assault on the victim. This person said two suspects took off in the victim’s vehicle, and a third headed back to the vehicle the suspects arrived in. The remaining male appeared to arm himself with a handgun, and attempted to get back into the victim’s vehicle, but he eventually fled on foot — leaving the suspect vehicle on scene.

Corleon Thomas — Wanted in connection with brutal beating during attempted robbery/carjacking in Greenfield

The complaint indicates Thomas admitted he was at the gas station on August 1st with two other male suspects who he refused to identify. He initially claimed he didn’t get out of the vehicle — but later said he was hit by a pole during the altercation and had a gun pointed at his face. He said he ran from the scene on foot.

Eight days later, on August 8th, there was a Multi-jurisdictional Apprehension Task Force effort to locate and arrest Thomas, which involved more than a dozen squads.

Around noon, he was located in a 2016 Honda Accord near Allis Street and Lincoln Avenue. He began to flee squads as soon as he spotted them, the complaint says. A pursuit lasted 24 minutes and for 21 miles on residential streets through Milwaukee and Glendale — reaching speeds of up to 105 miles-per-hour. The complaint says Thomas drove on the wrong side of the road and into oncoming traffic repeatedly. The complaint says Thomas made no attempt to stop at any stop signs or red lights.

Stop sticks were repeatedly used by Glendale police and Thomas eventually stopped the vehicle on N. 22nd Street — where he fled on foot. He was eventually taken into custody.

The complaint indicates the 2016 Accord was stolen from the gas station on August 1st.

Prosecutors say Thomas admitted he was driving the Accord on August 8th.

Thomas on August 11th, 2016 was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer. Court documents indicate in that case, he’s had a history of not appearing in court. His signature bond was forfeited in May and a bench warrant was issued after a non-appearance in April. He’s due in court in that case on August 25th for a scheduling conference.

Thomas was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer in January — and pleaded guilty in February. He was sentenced to serve 30 days in jail — time served.

He appeared in court for his initial appearance on August 12th in the latest case. Cash bond was set at $200,000. A preliminary hearing was set for August 18th.