Staged apartment complex burglary nets deferred prosecution agreements

A theft charge against the apartment manager for failing to deposit coins was dismissed.

Douglas County Circuit Court, Superior, Wisconsin. (Jed Carlson /
Jed Carlson / File / Superior Telegram

Two Douglas County men charged with taking cash from a Catholic Charities apartment complex in January and staging it as a burglary have entered deferred prosecution agreements in Douglas County Circuit Court.

A theft charge against the former apartment manager, who was emptying laundry machines after hours and failing to deposit the coins, has been dismissed.

Benjamin Michael Volkmuth, 48, of South Range, pleaded no contest Oct. 1 to one count of felony theft in a business setting. A misdemeanor charge of obstructing an officer was dismissed.

A one-year deferred prosecution agreement was entered, with Volkmuth agreeing to pay $8,300 in restitution, as well as a 10% clerk’s surcharge. According to court records, the South Range man paid $6,400 restitution on Sept. 30, with the balance due in installments through Nov. 12. He must also pay a fine of $50 plus misdemeanor court costs.

Ryan Anthony Katzmark, 40, of the town of Summit, pleaded no contest Oct. 1 to counts of party to felony theft and misdemeanor false emergency (911) phone use. A one-year deferred prosecution agreement was entered for the theft charge. Katzmark was ordered to serve two days in jail and pay a $500 fine plus court costs on the misdemeanor charge.


PREVIOUSLY: Two men charged in Superior apartment complex theft

Volkmuth, who worked at the apartment complex, stole cash from the office safe, according to the criminal complaints. He asked Katzmark to call 911 to report a suspicious person coming out of a window at the property the same night the cash was taken. When questioned by Superior Police detectives, Katzmark admitted it was a “staged” burglary. He told the detectives that Volkmuth had complained of financial issues and described this as a foolproof plan.

The theft prompted the agency to investigate, and it was found that an additional sum of money was missing. Apartment manager Amanda Lynn Cooksey, 39, of the town of Oakland, admitted that she had a large amount of quarters belonging to the charity in boxes in her garage. She told detectives that she had been emptying quarters from the machines after hours and not depositing them in the bank. She denied intending to steal the money.

Cooksey was charged with felony theft in January; the charge was dismissed Oct. 8 in Douglas County Circuit Court.

“Ms. Cooksey did not commit any crime. She did her best as an apartment manager, was overworked, and depositing laundry quarters, when other more pressing duties consumed her workday, was not a priority,’’ according to a statement from her attorney, Andrew Poole. “It was never her intent to steal from anybody.”

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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