‘I did it:’ Couple accused of stealing batteries from multiple Walmart stores, selling them to buy heroin

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- A Hartland man and his girlfriend are facing charges after prosecutors say the man admitted to stealing batteries from multiple Walmart stores and then selling them to purchase heroin.

Jason Shartle, 40, of Hartland and Shannon Stelloh, 40, of Hartland each face two counts of theft of movable property, less than $2,500.

According to a criminal complaint, police on Jan. 6 were dispatched to the Walmart store on Pewaukee Rd. in Pewaukee, where a manager advised that around 4 a.m., a vehicle entered the rear of the store and entry was made to a locked storage container with used batteries inside. Surveillance video showed an individual returned to his vehicle and opened the passenger side door to allow another person to exit the vehicle. They each made trips back and forth between the locker and vehicle -- taking nine batteries valued at $10 each. The suspect vehicle then left the scene. The complaint says it appeared a bolt cutter type tool was used to cut a chain.

Three days later, another theft was reported at the Pewaukee Walmart store. A manager said on Jan. 9, around 5 a.m., a vehicle approached the outside battery storage area and an individual exited -- making entry to the locker where the old batteries were stored. Two suspects again made multiple trips in and out of the container, taking batteries and placing them in the vehicle. The surveillance video showed it appeared to be the same suspect vehicle used on Jan. 6. Twenty-four to 30 batteries were taken this time.

On Jan. 18, investigators received information from Greenfield police regarding similar crimes that happened at Walmart stores in their jurisdiction. Surveillance video showed a 1991 Honda Accord station wagon with Wisconsin license plates: 875 YVT -- which matched the description of the suspect vehicle in the Pewaukee cases. Investigators learned the vehicle was believed to be staying at a home in Hartland, and records showed it had been sold to Jason Shartle.

On Jan. 19, the station wagon was stopped and Shartle and Stelloh were transported to the Pewaukee Police Department.

The complaint says during an interview with police, Shartle said "I did it." He said he and his girlfriend were involved in stealing vehicle batteries from numerous Walmart stores in SE WI. He said he would then turn in the batteries at Miller Compressing and West Allis Salvage. He said he was driving the station wagon during each incident. He said they would generally go to Walmart stores around 4 a.m., but admitted to going to the Walmart store on S. 27th St. during the day. He said he would use a bolt cutter to cut the locks/chain. He said his girlfriend was with him at the time of the thefts, and said they would commonly take up to 20 batteries from each location, and they'd make $160 on average when they turned them in. He said money from the batteries would be used to purchase heroin. He admitted that he knew what he was doing was wrong.

As for Stelloh, the complaint says she was shown a photograph and identified herself as being at the Walmart on S. 27th in Milwaukee.

They made their initial appearances in court on Jan. 22. A $1,000 signature bond was set for each. They'll be back in court on March 20. FOX6 News stopped by their Hartland home Friday morning to ask questions, and we were told they had been evicted.