LA CROSSE COUNTY, WISCONSIN — At approximately 1:30 a.m., a business owner discovered a former customer in a mask, trying to break into his business with a pry bar. Drawing his handgun, he asked the woman to drop the pry bar. She refused and he shot her in the leg.
According to WEAU News 13, police have identified the suspect as Amy Zielke, 37. Zielke was taken into custody after being treated for a gunshot wound to her leg.
Other news sources corroborate Zielke’s history of criminal behavior. In 2007, she was accused of stealing patient information to obtain an estimated $3,500 worth of merchandise via fraudulent use of credit cards and banking information.
via La Crosse Tribune (2007)
“I don’t want to make excuses for what I’ve done,” Amy Zielke said at her sentencing Friday in La Crosse County Circuit Court. “But I always wanted to buy all of the groceries on my list just once. I wanted to pay all of our bills instead of playing eenie, meeny, miny, moe.”
In that case, Zielke had no prior arrests so she faced no jail time on condition she paid back the debts. That was ten years ago.
Since then, Zielke has been charged with increasingly criminal behavior including breaking into vehicles and burglary.
Amy Zielke, 36, of Galesville was charged Thursday with burglary, attempted burglary, theft and two counts of felony bail jumping. Zielke broke into a car wash in Holmen and stole cash and a television Dec. 18 and tried to break into Kratt Lumber in La Crosse on Nov. 24, according to the complaint.
Now, after being apprehended this last time, she admits that she was responsible for two separate other burglaries before her attempt on this auto repair shop.
Increasingly desperate, increasingly reckless. This business owner was smart enough to not take chances but polite enough to ask the woman to surrender peaceably. When she refused, he rightly should have feared for his life and well-being. While she had yet to commit an overtly violent crime, we can see a pattern emerging whereby such an act may not be completely ruled out.
This is believed to be her third felony crime. “Three strikes and you’re out” or so the saying goes. For a business owner, home owner, or just gun owner, there’s certain things we cannot take chances on. The first is our safety, the second is the safety of our family, and the last is our property.
The owner was not charged with any crime as he was obviously defending himself from a criminal on his own property. It’s a good reminder that we may want to do the same should the circumstances arise.