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Man accused of armed robbery, allegedly driven by heroin habit

Ted Spakowski

MILWAUKEE -- A 34-year-old man faces two counts of armed robbery after a series of alleged crimes on Milwaukee's south side -- all of them captured by surveillance cameras. The accused is Ted Spakowski of Milwaukee.

According to the criminal complaint, Spakowski is only charged in two incidents on Sept. 4 and Sept. 5. But the complaint indicates he made attempts to pull off robberies at four other businesses during that same time.

The complaint indicates around 1 a.m. on Sept. 4, Spakowski entered the Shell gas station at 13th and College and said, "You know what time it is!" A worker in the gas station saw a man holding an object in his sweatshirt pocket "that she believe could be a taser because she observed a portion of it to be black and yellow." The worker realized she was being robbed and "took all of the money out of the register and handed it to the man," the complaint says.


The next day, Spakowski is accused of walking into the Topper's Pizza restaurant near Kinnickinnic and Lincoln just before midnight. The complaint says Spakowski stated, "Give me everything in the register...is there anything below the register?" A worker in the restaurant saw Spakowski "was pointing something through his sweatshirt pocket" and feared it was a gun. The complaint indicates Spakowski got away with more than $181.

The complaint indicates Spakowski attempted to rob four other businesses on Sept. 4. Those include:

  • Quick Pick Mobile gas station at 1127 E. Oklahoma Ave.
  • Sunrise Mobile gas station at 3870 S. Howell Ave.
  • BP gas station at 3725 S. Howell Ave.
  • Taco Bell at 260 W. Holt Ave.

The complaint indicates on Sept. 5, Spakowski's mother spoke with detectives saying she had seen the videos police released to the media. She said she "knew the man in the videos is her son."

On Sept. 6, the complaint says Spakowski was arrested. In a statement to police, Spakowski "admitted to committing all of the above six incident." He said he "needed money for heroin because he has a three gram a day habit." Spakowski told police "he used a black and yellow tire pressure gauge that looked like it could be a gun or had his hand in his pockets during each of these events so that people would at least think they were being threatened." Spakowski said "he never wanted to hurt anyone in this events and that is why he ran away when the clerks did not give him money."

Spakowski has already pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He is due back in court on Oct. 22.

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