“I couldn’t believe it!” ‘SafeRide Ron’ drives intoxicated man home for free – and his kindness cost him

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DODGE COUNTY -- He helps to keep drunk drivers off the roads in Dodge County -- but now, the sheriff says "SafeRide Ron's" kindness has cost him.

Dodge County Sheriff's officials are seeking a person of interest they believe was involved in a home robbery that took place in Beaver Dam Tuesday, December 29th.

Tower Lanes

Tower Lanes

Authorities say the incident began when Ron Gafner, a driver for Dodge County's SafeRide program was contacted by Tower Lanes and asked to give a patron a ride home who had too much to drink.

It's something Gafner does often as a SafeRide driver. He has been driving intoxicated patrons home for free for four years.

"I can be in a Shopko store and someone will be like 'hey SafeRide Ron,'" Gafner said.

Gafner picked up the man, who has been identified as 48-year-old Brian Krieger, and took him to an address located on Lakecrest Drive.

"It happened during the snowstorm," Gafner said.

"SafeRide Ron" Gafner

"SafeRide Ron" Gafner

It was near white-out conditions as heavy snow fell. Krieger, who said he was from out of town, asked to be driven to an apartment complex.

According to officials, Krieger was unable to make contact with anyone in the building and could not get in. Gafner then took Krieger to a Kwik Trip gas station so he could use the ATM -- but Krieger told Gafner he couldn't get any money.

Gafner then offered to take Krieger anywhere he needed to, but Krieger said he didn't have anywhere else to go.

"It`s 3 in the morning.  I don`t want the guy to freeze to death, so I told the guy 'here -- what I`ll do, I`ll let you sleep on my sofa,'" Gafner said.

Gafner didn't know his kindness would cost him.

"I get up at 8:00 a.m. -- TV`s gone. He`s gone, and his blanket is," Gafner said.

Brian Krieger

Brian Krieger

Gafner says in addition, a vehicle was taken that is owned by a friend of Gafner who is in assisted living.

Authorities say the key for the stolen vehicle was hanging on a peg just inside the door to Gafner's home.

"I couldn't believe it," Gafner said.

The vehicle stolen is a green 1994 Plymouth Voyager with Wisconsin disabled plate 68681D. The van is also equipped with a wheelchair lift.

FOX6 News learned late Wednesday night the van was recovered in the City of Milwaukee. Dodge County Sheriff's officials said the van was taken to a secure facility.

At this time, authorities say 48-year-old Brian Krieger is a person of interest in this case. He was captured via gas station surveillance cameras.

"It's just one of those things that happened, you know? I`m sure they guy who did it has a lot of personal problems or he wouldn`t be doing it," Gafner said.

Officials are urging anyone with information on the whereabouts of Krieger to contact the Dodge County Sheriff's Office at 920-386-4115.

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