"Paper Team" charged in series of robberies
Updated: 4:00 p.m. on January 24, 2018
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Four Milwaukee men are charged with carrying out a long list of “grab and run” robberies across the area.
They call themselves “The Paper Team.”
One of them, Tyron Richardson, is in custody. Now police are asking for help to find the other three.
The more than 30-page criminal complaint calls “The Paper Team” a “criminal enterprise.”
They’re accused of stealing more than $70,000 worth of merchandise from stores in Glendale, as well as Tosa, Cudahy, Oak Creek, and Brown Deer.
In broad daylight, the so-called Paper Team runs out of Saks Off Fifth at the Mayfair Collection in Tosa with thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise in their hands. It’s one of two robberies the group is accused of committing on December 3.
When a loss-prevention associate chases after them, one of the suspects goes back and throws punches and a fight breaks out.
Surveillance video shows one of the suspects attacking the associate with a belt before collecting the merchandise off the ground and pulling away in a silver Nissan.
In surveillance video of a robbery at a Glendale Kohl’s store a few days earlier, the suspects can be seen throwing clothes into shopping carts. Moments later they walk out of the store.
Police say Paper Team member Devonte Thomas took more than $5,000 of merchandise from the AT&T store in Glendale less than a month later.
Investigators are still looking for Kendall Strickland, Devonte Thomas, and Charles Porter.
Anyone with information on their whereabouts is asked to contact one of the police departments involved.
In the criminal complaint, police say an online rap music video helped them identify the suspects. The complaint stating police "located several 'Paper Team' YouTube videos with all four Defendants in the videos" and "in one of the videos posted before the offense, Defendant Porter is seen wearing the exact same red and black outfit as he was wearing during Counts 3 and 4."
University of California Irvine Professor, Charis Kubrin has been studying a correlation between crime and rap music, particularly when rap videos and lyrics are used as evidence.
Kubrin says unlike many of the cases she's studied, this one doesn't seem to be about rap music. After briefly reviewing case details, she says besides the outfit, nothing else in the rap video should be used as evidence.
"In this particular case I would want to decouple the fact that this individual is a rapper (or he belongs in a rap group) and whatever criminal activity is taking place because even though they identified him through one of his rap videos, I really think rap and rap music is not central in this case," said Kubrin. "It's easy to read a headline and see rapper engages in crime, caught during rap video and this really isn't about rapping, this is about an individual engaging in crime who also happens to be a rapper."
Posted: 5:54 a.m. on January 24, 2018
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Four people who call themselves the “Paper Team” are facing numerous charges connected to retail thefts throughout southeastern Wisconsin, according to a criminal complaint.
Charles Porter, Kendall Strickland, Tyron Richardson and Devonte Thomas are facing multiple charges of retail theft and robbery.
Authorities say the four individuals have been identified as suspects in several felony retail thefts, robberies, operating stolen vehicles, eluding or fleeing police and drug dealing activities throughout southeastern Wisconsin since the fall of 2017.
According to the complaint, the“Paper Team” would typically commit the thefts in a “grab and run” style. The group would also post on social media about the crimes and sell stolen items.
Authorities were able to identify the four through surveillance footage from the crimes, public records and social media posts. The thefts date from November 5-January 19. The group targeted several stores including cell phone and clothes retailers.
The details of the crimes can be read in the criminal complaint below: