Sauk County inmate allegedly urged gun thefts

November 23, 2018


Authorities say a Sauk County jail inmate asked his mother to conceal evidence by orchestrating the burglary of a safe full of guns, a mission he dubbed “operation sparkie.”

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday, a jailer recently noticed that a piece of outgoing mail addressed to the mother of 30-year-old inmate Travis M. Bruemmer of Loganville contained a suspicious phrase printed on its side: “Burn this after reading.”

That was enough to catch the jailer’s eye, and he proceeded to read the full contents of the letter. It allegedly contained instructions for burglarizing a witness in an open felony case against Bruemmer.

In October, authorities charged Bruemmer with forcing a man at gunpoint to help him steal an ATV that was parked on the side of a road in the town of Dellona. The four-wheeler later was spotted outside a barn near Bruemmer’s home.

Sauk County investigators searched the barn with a K-9, and reportedly found Bruemmer hiding in a pile of hay. He was arrested and taken to the county jail in Baraboo, where he remains incarcerated.

As part of the investigation, authorities learned that Bruemmer, a convicted felon, previously had bartered with his landlord over rent, using firearms as payment. Included in a six-count criminal complaint against him was a charge of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

In the jailhouse letter written after his arrest, Bruemmer allegedly told his mother that the landlord needs to recant his statements to investigators. If that doesn’t happen, the letter said, his mother should send someone to the landlord’s shop with a forklift when no one is there.

Bruemmer allegedly confided that a safe within the shop contains up to 50 guns — some which belonged to him —and $20,000 in cash.

“Please mom, please send Randy to do this, get the job done,” Bruemmer allegedly wrote. “I want to come home. Burn this letter so there’s no evidence anywhere I put him up to it. No guns no crime.”

According to the complaint, Bruemmer encouraged his mother to round up a team of would-be burglars, recommending that they carry out the heist at night wearing masks and discard their shoes when done. Prosecutors say Bruemmer even told his mother where they could find a hidden key to the shop.

Court documents also state that Bruemmer told his mother never to write or speak over the phone about the burglary. He allegedly advised her to refer to the scheme as “operation sparkie.”

A detective later reported that the landlord confirmed details about his shop —and the gun-filled safe — that were contained in the letter.

On Wednesday, the Sauk County District Attorney’s Office charged Bruemmer with solicitation of burglary and solicitation of moveable property theft. Each felony charge carries a maximum possible prison sentence of six years upon conviction.

The new case isn’t the first time Bruemmer has been accused of trying to wriggle his way out of criminal charges.

In 2016, Columbia County prosecutors charged him with bribing a public official. A police officer reported that Bruemmer offered to pay him $1,000 in exchange for his release after he was arrested on drug charges.

In that case, he eventually pleaded guilty to amended charges of resisting an officer and drug paraphernalia possession, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

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