UW-Green Bay Public Safety Identifies Suspects, Arrests Made in Book Theft Ring

Investigation Reveals Several Wisconsin, Midwest College Campuses Also Targeted

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay announced today that two individuals have been taken into custody in Texas on burglary charges related to the theft of more than 60 textbooks valued at more than $12,000 from offices at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in June.

According to Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Tomas Kujawa, two individuals entered the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus in early June 2017 with the intent to commit burglaries. Investigators reached out to police agencies within the University of Wisconsin System and discovered similar crimes in February 2017 at UW-River Falls and UW-Stout, and also at North Dakota State University and Minnesota State University Moorhead. The suspects were confirmed to be present on at least four other UW System campuses in June of 2017.

UW-Green Bay Police identified two suspects and requested nationwide arrest warrants be issued for burglary by the Brown County District Attorney’s Office for both Ryan S. Lewis (33-Houston, Tex.) and Genesis G. Abellar (33-Houston, Tex.).  This morning, with assistance from the Harris County Sheriff Criminal Investigations Bureau, Criminal Warrants, of Houston, Tex., both were taken into custody without incident. When arresting deputies made contact with Lewis, he was surrounded by thousands of textbooks and in the process of selling them online. Investigative information obtained by UW-Green Bay Police is being shared with state and federal law enforcement entities to assist with investigations in their jurisdictions.

“This is a great example of where the combination of good police work, technology and collaboration across campus, with the community and local law enforcement helped in identifying these suspects,” Kujawa noted.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller thanks all those involved in this investigation, specifically the expertise of those in UW-Green Bay’s Division of Information Technology, UW-Green Bay Public Safety, University staff and faculty in Natural and Applied Sciences and many others in the campus community.

“We greatly appreciate the resources provided by the Brown County District Attorney’s office, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department (TX), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Green Bay Field Office) and the Wisconsin Department of Justice,” Chancellor Miller said. “Together, our commitment to the safety and security of the campus community is of the utmost importance and our shared resolve to bring to justice those who seek to disrupt that safety and security is something of which we should all be very proud.”

To interview Chief Kujawa (Kwee Ya Va), please call 920-465-2300, or contact Sue Bodilly, 920-465-5502 or bodillys@uwgb.edu.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,030 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.

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