MADISON (WKOW) -- In a strange twist, staff members at a treatment facility for children with autism greet news of the arrest of a suspect in a string of burglaries at their building with some regret.
Authorities say the rip-offs involved only stolen food.
Jen Foffel of Integrated Development Services on Madison's west side says the man arrested for these crimes, and food thefts from another treatment facility nearby is familiar to staff members.
The suspect is 45-year-old John Newburg, who lives near the victimized businesses.
Foffel says Newburg worked for more than a decade at a sub shop in the neighborhood, and often made them their lunch-time sandwiches.
"He was always the face that we saw, that we talked to, that we joked around with. Really nice guy."
Foffel says Newburg was absent from the store in recent months.
"This is a guy, who maybe lost his job, is down on his luck," says Foffel.
A manager at Milio's on Schroeder Road confirms Newburg worked part-time at the store for years, but was fired last fall. The manager says Newburg was terminated for theft, although the manager says he's only aware of Newburg stealing a single bottled water.
Foffel says as much as $400 worth of bulk food was stolen during one of her facilities' episodes of burglary in recent months. She says often only a small food item such as a frozen dinner was taken.
Madison police spokesperson Joel DeSpain says surveillance camera videotape helped investigators identify Newburg.
DeSpain says more typical of burglary cases are stolen lap tops and small electronics.
Foffel says she doubts the autism treatment mission of the victimized facilities played any role in the thief's motivation.
Newburg appears to have no criminal history in Wisconsin. He remains in the Dane County Jail with no date scheduled yet for a court appearance. He faces several, tentative felony counts.
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