AP NEWS

Loganville man who hatched safe burglary scheme dubbed ‘operation sparkie’ gets prison

April 3, 2019

A Loganville man who wrote a jailhouse letter to his mother in which he asked her to destroy evidence by orchestrating the burglary of a gun-filled safe will spend the next two years behind bars.

Travis M. Bruemmer, 30, reached a plea agreement Tuesday with prosecutors involving three separate felony cases. He pleaded no contest to charges of attempted solicitation of a burglary, attempted solicitation of a theft and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

A Sauk County judge sentenced him to the two-year prison term, plus another three years of probation upon his release. He must undergo any treatment or counseling deemed appropriate by his agent.

Bruemmer came to the attention of Sauk County authorities in October after a man dialed 911 to report that someone forced him at gunpoint to aid in the theft of an all-terrain vehicle parked on the side of a road in the town of Dellona.

Following a manhunt, officers found Bruemmer hiding in a pile of hay inside a barn. An investigation into the weapon used in the crime later revealed that Bruemmer, a convicted felon, had possessed multiple firearms that he provided to his landlord as rent payments.

Prosecutors filed a litany of charges against him, including the possession of firearms as a convicted felon, theft and threatening to injure a person.

Then, while incarcerated at the Sauk County Jail in November, Bruemmer wrote a letter to his mother that compounded his problems. A jailer decided to read the mail after noticing the phrase “Burn this after reading” printed on its side.

In the letter, Bruemmer asked his mother to make sure the guns he gave his landlord could not be used as evidence against him. He wanted her to get his brothers to visit the landlord’s business after hours with a forklift and remove a safe that contained up to 50 guns.

“No guns no crime,” the letter stated, according to the criminal complaint. Bruemmer advised his mother never to speak about the matter over the phone, and to refer to the plan only as “operation sparkie.”

In exchange for Bruemmer’s no contest pleas to three felonies on Tuesday, prosecutors dismissed other charges, including those related to a separate forgery case.

Sauk County Assistant District Attorney Michael Albrecht described Bruemmer’s behavior as “irresponsible and frankly stupid.” He said the ATV incident seemed to set off a chain of events that led to additional offenses.

“I’d just like to say I apologize for my reckless behavior and irresponsibility in this case,” Bruemmer said.

He said he was grieving the loss of his father when the series of events began, and that he has since sought treatment for a drug addiction. He asked that the judge deem him eligible for early-release programs, such as drug treatment and boot camp.

Bruemmer’s attorney, Roger Klopp of Lodi, said his client’s crimes were a result of his drug use. He traded guns as rent because he was spending too much money on drugs, and was in the midst of a difficult detox when he wrote the jailhouse letter to his mother.

Klopp said the guns were willed to his client following his father’s death, and that it was an uncle who arranged for them to be transferred to the landlord. He also said Bruemmer’s mother and brothers never would have carried out the burglary, and noted that the letter never left the jail.

Sauk County Circuit Court Judge Patricia Barrett disagreed with Klopp’s assessment that Bruemmer was eligible for early-release programs, saying it was not entirely clear that a drug addiction fueled his decision-making. She said he exhibited a broad spectrum of bad behavior that made the two-year prison sentence appropriate.

“From the best guess that the court can give from these offenses and from some of your past, there’s something motivating you above and beyond just the bold-faced interest in disobeying the law,” Barrett said. “Some of the motivation is not clear. Your history would suggest that it probably is drug-related, and that forms a basis for how you proceed to figure out ways to take care of the thing that drives you.”