MILWAUKEE — A brutal home invasion in Wauwatosa targeted a family new to this country. The crime left them scarred physically and emotionally.
The suspected mastermind behind it all was in court Monday, Aug. 6 along with one of two suspects accused of carrying it out. Nicole Kauper waived her preliminary hearing, entered a not guilty plea and was bound over trial. A competency hearing was requested for Brandon Lane.
Investigators say 36-year-old Kauper helped plan the crime. Court documents said Kauper worked at the Days Inn in West Allis.
Police said a family that just moved to the United States, approached Kauper at the front desk — asking for a safe because they had a large amount of money. Authorities said she told her boyfriend, Antwuan Hardy, and the family was surveilled.
“They decided to put a plan in place to get the money from this family,” said Lt. Jim Mastrocola, Wauwatosa Police Department.
Hardy allegedly conspired with Lane to carry out the plan. Police said the two broke into the family’s duplex near 116th and Watertown Plank in early July, stole money and attacked and assaulted multiple people in the home.
Once inside, the two men allegedly tied up a family and beat them — including a 5-year-old child. One woman was grabbed by the hair, pushed up against the wall and a gun was pressed up against her neck, the criminal complaint says. The boy was among the family members bound and gagged, and he suffered brain bleeds as a result.
“The horrific ordeal that they went through for three-plus hours — being physically restrained, literally being held hostage in their own home, their faces covered, hearing their family member screaming, a 5-year-old child being assaulted, a 62-year-old woman being assaulted, horrific crime — and as I said earlier, it truly speaks to not only the mindset, but it says a lot about these suspects,” said Captain Brian Zalewski of the Wauwatosa Police Department.
The three face the following criminal charges:
- Robbery, armed (use of force) – as a party to a crime (Hardy, Lane) – four counts
- First degree reckless injury, as a party to a crime (Hardy, Lane)
- Second degree recklessly endangering safety, as a party to a crime (Hardy, Lane)
- Burglary (home invasion), as a party to a crime (Hardy, Lane)
- False imprisonment, as a party to a crime (Hardy, Lane) – five counts
- Conspiracy to commit burglary (home invasion) – (Kauper)
- Harboring or aiding a felon (Kauper) – two counts
Hardy waived his preliminary hearing on July 29. Cash bond was set at $30,000 and he pleaded not guilty.
Kauper made her initial appearance in court on July 29. Cash bond was set at $10,000. She is no longer an employee at the Days Inn.
Hardy is scheduled to be in court next Thursday, Aug. 16.