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Monday, March 17, 2008

Man accused of stealing taser

Video posted on YouTube

By Jean Matheson/Contributor

A Waukesha County man was charged Thursday with stealing a Taser stun gun from an East Troy police officer.

He also allegedly posted a video on YouTube of him and his father firing the Taser at each other.

Paul M. Crowell, 22, of rural Delafield, is being held in custody after his probation on a car theft conviction was revoked, his attorney told Walworth County Circuit Judge James Carlson.

Both Crowell and his father, Paul J. Dupey, 42, have been charged in Waukesha County with a felony offense of possessing an electric weapon, according to court records.

In the Walworth County case, two women told police they were with Crowell early on New Year's Day when their car slid off snowy Highway 120 into a ditch. They were assisted by an East Troy police officer who gave them a lift to a gas station so they could phone for someone to pick them up.

One of the women said she saw Crowell reach through the open cage window of the squad car and take the Taser, according to a criminal complaint.

The other woman told East Troy and Waukesha police that she saw Crowell and Dupey each using the Taser and then posting a video on YouTube later in the day at Dupey's home in the Town of Waukesha, the complaint says.

Two hours after the Taser was stolen, the East Troy police officer noticed it was missing. She said it had been on top of a briefcase next to her on the front seat of the squad car. Dupey turned over the Taser to East Troy officers when they went to his home on Jan. 4, according to the complaint.

Crowell has been charged with felony counts of disarming a peace officer and possession of an electric weapon and with a misdemeanor theft charge. Because of his previous felony conviction, he is being prosecuted as a repeat offender, facing enhanced penalties of up to 22 years in prison and a $30,000 fine if convicted of all charges

Crowell's defense attorney, LaTawn Warsaw, told the judge at Thursday's hearing that charges against her client in both Walworth and Waukesha counties may be consolidated in Waukesha County. She said Crowell's probation on the car theft conviction had been revoked and he is to be sentenced this week in Waukesha County. He is to appear May 15 in Walworth County for further proceedings.

Crowell and Dupey are to appear March 27 in Waukesha County for a preliminary hearing on the Taser possession charge.

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