A Racine man with a self-described obsession for doorknobs has been charged with stealing tools, materials and other items from several Mequon construction sites.

According to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, Thor Jeffrey Steven Laufer, 42, told police that he stole the items from the construction sites to disguise his obsession and "so that it would look like a typical burglary rather than someone just stealing doorknobs."

The complaint details several construction site thefts Dec. 17 through 21 in Mequon. Besides an array of knobs and handles, Laufer also stole four custom Tudor posts valued at more than $7,000, a chandelier, a bar sink, tile, tools and other items, the complaint says.

Most of the stolen items were recovered from a storage locker to which Laufer directed police, the complaint says.

Laufer has been charged in Ozaukee County with six counts of felony burglary. If convicted of those charges, he could be imprisoned for 121/2 years and fined $25,000 on each count.

Laufer is also facing charges in Milwaukee County for embarking on a similar spree in Franklin during the same period, according to a complaint filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court in December.

According to that complaint, Laufer told police he did not sell the knobs, as he did the other items, but kept them for his personal collection.


http://www.jsonline.com/news/ozwash/jan05/294674.asp