BURNETT COUNTY -- A lengthy law enforcement investigation has resulted in multiple felony charges in Burnett County Circuit Court against a couple, Joshua Staples and Aleisha Downey, alleging that they burglarized a local business.

Related: Burnett County Weekly Jail Bookings Report - Apr. 26, 2022

Staples and Downey were arrested on April 3rd, 2022, after evidence gained through GPS surveillance of Staples’ vehicle led to the culmination of a lengthy law enforcement investigation.

According to criminal complaints filed against Downey and Staples, GPS surveillance confirmed that Staples’ vehicle had been in the vicinity of a business called Pine Creek Pit Stop in Bayfield County. Burnett County law enforcement made contact with Bayfield County law enforcement and it was confirmed that the Pine Creek Pit Stop had been burglarized.

Additional law enforcement units located Staples’ vehicle as it traveled back toward Burnett County and made contact on Highway 77 near the intersection of Airfield Road. The vehicle did not immediately stop for law enforcement but did ultimately come to a stop on Staples Lake Road.

Staples and Downey were taken into custody. Drug paraphernalia and nearly 3 grams of methamphetamine were located on Downey’s person when she was arrested. When told that law enforcement knew where they had been that night, Downey stated "I wasn't going anywhere I was in the car sleeping. We were going to Hinckley, to go see his parents. So I don't know anything about no bar burglaries."

A search warrant was obtained for Staples’ vehicle, and according to the criminal complaints filed against Staples and Downey, law enforcement located dozens of items in the vehicle including a backpack that contained a set of bolt cutters, two pry bars, a flashlight, loose change, a money bag that said: "Pine Creek Pit Stop" on it and pair of boots with mud on them that was still wet. A journal was found near where Downey was seated. Inside the journal was a pay stub for Downey as well as a piece of paper with the address for Pine Creek Pit Stop and what time the Pine Creek Pit Stop closed.

Other items found in the vehicle included nearly 30 grams of marijuana, smoking devices, walkie talkies, night vision binoculars, a radar detector, numerous crowbars, additional bolt cutters & pry bars, another flashlight, a battery charger, a tow strap, cell phones, and papers with what appeared to be lists of bars identifying what county the bars were located in and their hours of business. Also found in the vehicle were several hundred dollars in cash and coins, and numerous documents such as court notices, health care cards, bank cards, social security cards, vehicle titles, and a marriage license all belonging to Staples and Downey. Staples’ vehicle was taken as evidence and placed in the Burnett County impound.

Law enforcement had already been investigating Downey and Staples regarding the burglary of a business in Burnett County in August 2021 due to evidence obtained during that investigation.

Shortly after 3a on August 4, 2021, Burnett County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a report of a burglary of a business in the Town of Oakland. The burglars entered the business by pushing in a window unit air conditioner and later exited through the front doors.

Several gambling machines inside the business had been broken into and the plastic bill holder from inside the machines had been dropped on the floor. Two register-style cash boxes had been emptied and left on the floor.

Law enforcement was able to obtain photographs of footprint impressions and reviewed security camera footage which showed a suspect inside the business shortly before 3a. Several camera views from the security cameras captured footage of the suspect in different locations of the bar with various tools, and at one point, the suspect is seen leaving a bag on a counter inside the business.

The bag was located by the owner after they returned to the business following the burglary, and the owner reported it to law enforcement. A DNA sample was provided by the owner of the business, and the bag was submitted to the crime lab for DNA testing.

In February 2022, the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office received two DNA Hit Notifications from the crime lab indicating the presence of DNA from both Staples and Downey. The owner was excluded as a source for the DNA according to the criminal complaints.

Charges of Class F Felony Burglary of a Building, Misdemeanor Theft, Misdemeanor Criminal Damage to Property, Class I Felony Possession of Burglarious Tools, and Misdemeanor Receiving Stolen Property have been filed against Downey and Staples. Downey is also charged with Class I Felony Possession of Methamphetamine and Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

In Bayfield County Circuit Court Downey is charged with Class F Felony Burglary of a Building, two counts of Misdemeanor Criminal Damage to Property, and Misdemeanor Theft of Movable Property with a violation date of April 3, 2022. A warrant for Downey’s arrest is also filed in Bayfield County. At the time of this post, no additional criminal charges were located in online court records for Staples.

Bail bond hearings were held in Burnett County Circuit Court on April 4, 2022, for both Downey and Staples, and the Hon. Melissia Mogen ordered $25,000 cash bond for each of them with conditions that they maintain absolute sobriety, have no contact with the victim, not possess or use any burglarious tools, and also be subject to random drug testing.

Staples and Downey appeared recently for initial appearances on their criminal charges in Burnett County Circuit Court on April 20, 2022, while in custody. Downey is scheduled to appear again on April 28, 2022, for a preliminary examination hearing, and Staples is scheduled to have a preliminary examination hearing in May 2022.

Pursuant to the direction of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, as found in Supreme Court Rule 20:3.6, Trial Publicly, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


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