Man to plea or face trial in Subway robberies

ESCANABA – A Wisconsin man accused of robbing two Subway restaurants in Escanaba last year was bound over Monday to circuit court where he may go to trial or make a plea.

Brook Evan Grzelak, 51, of Green Bay, appeared in Delta County District Court for a preliminary hearing Monday. He is charged with five counts relating to the Dec. 12, 2012, burglary of the Subways at 536 N. Lincoln Road and 2311 Ludington St.

Based on testimony and evidence presented, Judge Glenn Pearson bound over the case to the higher court on the following five felonies: two counts of safe breaking; two counts of breaking and entering a building with intent; and one count of possession of burglar’s tools.

Each safe-breaking count carries a maximum sentencing of life in prison. The other three charges are each a 10-year felony.

During Monday’s court proceeding, six witnesses presented testimony including three Subway employees, an Escanaba police officer and a detective, and an officer from the Ashwaubenon Police Department.

Evidence presented during the preliminary examination included photographs produced from security videos from both businesses on the night of the break-ins.

Grzelak allegedly broke into the two businesses during the early morning hours, grinded holes in a safe at each location, pulled out money and checks from inside, and fled, according to testimony.

Investigation into the break-ins led Escanaba Public Safety to warn law enforcement agencies in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin of the potential threat for additional burglaries at Subway restaurants.

Earlier that night, an Escanaba police officer on patrol had ran a license check on a suspicious vehicle parked behind a business on Lincoln Road, blocks away from both Subways. The van was registered in Grzelak’s name.

Acting on this information supplied by Escanaba police, Ashwaubenon Police Department in Wisconsin arrested Grzelak on a probation violation.

Police searched his vehicle and found evidence allegedly linking him to the Escanaba Subway burglaries including checks made out to the local businesses from the day before.

Grzelak remains lodged in Delta County Jail in lieu of a $100,000 cash bond.

He also faces additional criminal charges in Wisconsin for similar allegations and is suspected of being linked to Subway burglaries in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, according to police.