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Brothers charged in connection to string of armed robberies

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Two brothers have been charged in connection with a string of armed robberies, according to a filing for a warrant.

The robberies happened in Bayview, Wauwatosa and the east side of Milwaukee.

Brett Ervin, 63, and Spencer McClain, 53, have been charged in connection to several robberies.

According to the criminal complaint, the first robbery happened on October 29 at the Metro Market on North Van Buren Street.

The complaint alleges McClain went into the Metro Market, approached an employee, handed her a black plastic bag and told her to put all the money in it. He then allegedly lifted up his shirt and showed what appeared to be the handle of a gun. The employee took out money from the cash and gave it to McClain.

A few weeks later, on November 10, the complaint alleges McClain went into Koppa’s Deli on the east side wearing a hooded sweatshirt, bright yellow mask and white gloves. He allegedly walked up to the woman working the cash register, showed a black handgun and said “Give me the money.”

“She backed on and she said I don’t have anything, some dollars and little cash,” said Skaarthik Pothumaschi, owner of Koppa’s.

The employee reportedly told McClain “not to kill her as she had kids.”

“It did take impact on the girl who was working she was took back with that, she was worrying that, she never encountered anything like that,” said Pothumaschi.

McClain left with nothing.

The next day, the criminal complaint says he went to the Swan Serv U Pharmacy in Wauwatosa wearing the same items he wore in the Koppa’s robbery.  He allegedly showed a handgun and told employees to give him cash and drugs. He left with approximately $756. He was seen arriving and leaving in a Nissan Maxima that had distinct rims.

Information about that car was given out to police in the area. Later that night, on November 11, a Milwaukee Police Department officer saw the car. It was registered to Brett Ervin, McClain’s brother.

A few days later, police placed a GPS device on the car.

On November 26, the criminal complaint alleges McClain went back to the Metro Market on North Van Buren and approached the same employee in the last robbery. He allegedly raised his jacket and showed the handle of a gun, threw a white plastic bag on the counter and told the employee to put the money in the bag. She did.

Officers looked at the GPS data from Ervin’s Nissan Maxima and the complaint states the data showed the car driving to the Metro Market and arriving around 8 a.m. Approximately 20 minutes later, the car left the area.

On November 29, officers using the GPS data and surveillance, saw Ervin driving McClain to the area of the Bayview Supermarket.

A few days later, on December 4, the criminal complaint alleges McClain went into the Bayview Supermarket, approached the counter in jacket with hood up, white face mask and white gloves.

“Tried to get the money from me. First he tried to put the guns over me and tried to ask me to put the money in the bag and blah blah blah, I ignored him,” said the owner of the Bayview Supermarket, Paresh Patel.

“I throwed the plastic bag I said, ‘Get out from here,’ and I wasn’t scared about dying either. Believe me or not, if I have a gun at that time, in my pocket, I definitely give them a couple of bullets for no charge. I’m not scared to dying anymore and now I’m not scared at all,” said Patel.

McClain got away with approximately $1,000, according to the complaint.

The GPS data showed the Nissan Maxima departing the Bayview Supermarket around the time of the robbery, according to the complaint. 

The complaint states McClain was arrested later that day driving a car registered to Ervin. He had $477 in his pockets. His car was searched and police found a black fake handgun inside a white glove similar to what he was wearing in some of the robberies.

The next day, Ervin was arrested while driving the Nissan Maxima the GPS was installed in. He had $726 in his pockets. During a search of his home, police found five white knit gloves of the same type McClain used in some of the robberies, according to the criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, Ervin told police that he drove to the Bayview Supermarket knowing McClain was going to rob the place. Ervin said he “doesn’t drive his brother McClain to the robbery for the money, but in order to keep McClain safe.”

Ervin also allegedly told police he drove McClain to the Metro Market knowing he was going to rob the story but “only went so McClain didn’t get hurt.”

Ervin initially denied being involved in the Swan Pharmacy robbery, but later admitted to being the driver. He denied being involved in the Koppa’s Deli robbery.

According to the criminal complaint, McClain and Ervin were co-defendants in a previous multi-count armed robbery case.

Ervin has a plea hearing scheduled for February 26. McClain’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 29.

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