A 33-year-old Caledonia man had his initial appearance Thursday on shoplifting and carrying a concealed weapon charges.
Michael Rakel was formally charged in Racine County Circuit Court with a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon, one misdemeanor count of retail theft, and a single felony count of bail jumping. If convicted of all charges, he faces up to 7-1/2 years in jail and/or up to $30,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, Rakel was observed at Kmart by store security on April 19 taking an HDMI cord, batteries, a knife/phone pouch, and some LED vehicle lights.
When they confronted Rakel outside the store, he reportedly reached toward his pocket. Because security thought he had a knife from what they'd seen on the surveillance video, they stepped back and asked Rakel to drop the merchandise.
Police say Rakel dropped the lights, fled toward Pick 'n' Save and jumped into a white van. Store security followed the van and provided the plate number so officers were able to meet Rakel at his residence.
When police searched Rakel, they found the HDMI cable, the batteries, a phone pouch and a knife with a three-inch blade. Total estimate for the items came to just over $113.
Rakel first appeared in court on April 25, but because he didn't have legal counsel, his initial appearance was postponed to Thursday. Court Commissioner Alice A. Rudebusch assigned a $5,000 cash bond, and a preliminary hearing was set for May 15.
The defendant is also out on bond from a 2012 felony drug possession case in Waukesha County that is scheduled to go to trial in June.