MILWAUKEE — The former employee and client who burglarized a resource center that helps trafficking survivors was recently charged in connection to the incident.
Chuntazia Cox, 27, was charged with disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property on Tuesday, April 5. The max sentence for the charges is a year behind bars, if found guilty.
The incident happened on Thursday, March 24. Milwaukee police responded to the Convergence Resource Center on 76th Street around 5 p.m.
Debbie Lassiter said Cox along with a man destroyed thousands of dollars worth of equipment.
"It was over $25,000 of damage and we're still not done replacing everything," she said.
Lassiter said she doesn't understand why the charges were both misdemeanors, but she found out why Wednesday, and it had to do with a dollar amount.
Despite documenting damage of more than $25,000, the court estimated the total at less than $2,500.
That difference is also the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony, which means a lower bond.
"The very systems that are supposed to protect us are now victimizing us," Lassiter said. "With all the pictures sent to them and when you look at the pictures and look at the video we sent, you can see that's more than $2,500 worth of damage."
Lassiter said does not know how the court got this wrong, but she is baffled that Cox could have had a higher bond if this mistake was not made.
"You needed a little piece of information that nobody that I can tell was looking for," Lassiter said.
The Milwaukee District Attorney's office say they will be upgrading one of those charges to a felony after reviewing the additional information given to them.
According to the criminal complaint, the front security door was broken and the center glass piece was pushed out. Police also observed "broken glass, knocked over bookshelves, picture frames knocked off the wall, an intercom pulled off the wall with exposed wires, computer monitors thrown around, damaged computers, and broken computer mouses" inside the center. There was also flipped over chairs, TVs pulled of the walls and damaged, a microwave throw upside down, and damage to the walls, the complaint states.
The complaint states Cox had come to the center for help and was eventually hired and became a front office manager at the center. The center then received information that Cox was allegedly using drugs and she had quit earlier in the week, according to the complaint.
A center employee told police that around 4:35 p.m., Cox's vehicle entered the parking lot and parked in front of the building. The employee told another worker to call police because she did not think it was going to be a "good situation," according to the complaint. The two employees then barricaded themselves in the office. According to the complaint, the two employees then saw Cox on the building's security cameras damaging the center. The complaint also states there was a second person with Cox.
The damage estimate is over $2,500. If you would like to help the center rebuild, click here.
A $500 bond was set for Cox on Monday. She has a pre-trial conference at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27.
Cox's attorney says they are early in the proceedings and can not comment further until all discovery materials are reviewed.
We did reach out to Cox's attorney for a comment and have not heard back yet.