A South Milwaukee man convicted as a sex offender in 2005 is back on the streets but has nowhere to go.
Bruce Heintz, 67, was convicted in 2005 for sexually assaulting three girls he knew were between the ages of 10 and 13. He was also charged with six counts of possession of child pornography.
He was released from jail Tuesday and brought back to where he's from; South Milwaukee. The only problem, he does not have a home listed.
"Mr. Heintz does not have an address where he's going to reside in South Milwaukee," said Chief Ann Wellens of the South Milwaukee Police Department. "We felt an informed public is an educated public and wanted to make sure our citizens knew this was happening in South Milwaukee."
Wellens says police made the neighborhood notification ahead of Heintz's release, but parents are still concerned.
"I think it's very upsetting," said Sharon Potter, a grandmother of a child in South Milwaukee. "It's disconcerting because you can't be too safe in this day and age."
"I know [sex offenders] are everywhere pretty much," said Mike Jensen, a father in South Milwaukee. "But not having a location for him is the biggest concern. Basically, you're telling me they're going to be roaming around, squatting in a park or whatever. It's really concerning you have an active sex offender."
"I still feel like it's so dangerous," said Carrie Carter, a mother in South Milwaukee. "Especially since we have no clue where he's going to be at all."
Heintz will complete a face-to-face registration at the South Milwaukee Police Department Tuesday. They will take his photo, ask him questions and get his fingerprints. On top of that, he'll be fitted with a GPS monitoring device so law enforcement will always know where he is.
"In South Milwaukee we have an ordinance," Wellens said. "He will not be allowed within 1,000 feet of certain child safety zones. Schools, playgrounds, parks. His GPS unit will be programmed by the Department of Corrections so if he went into one of those areas, it would alarm and they would notify us and put out an apprehension request for him and the South Milwaukee Police Department would look for him at the last known GPS coordinate."
He is far from the first sex offender to be homeless in the state of Wisconsin. According to the Department of Corrections, 669 out of the 24,635 overall sex offenders in the state are homeless. Most of those are in Milwaukee County where 391 of the 2,841 sex offenders are homeless.
In South Milwaukee's zip code of 53172 where Heintz will be, he'll be the third homeless sex offender out of 48 total. So police are urging the public not to panic.
"In talking with the Department of Corrections and talking to his agent, they felt Mr. Heintz is an individual that won't reoffend," Wellens said. "Mr. Heintz has served his time, served penalty for a crime he committed. Now, he's going back into society and hopefully, will be a productive member of society."
There will be difficulties though. Wellens says in Wisconsin, sex offenders are prohibited from participating in Halloween festivities. So, without a registered address, police are unable to check and see if a homeless sex offender is offering candy to children on the holiday.
Therefore, Wellens hopes parents use this as an opportunity to educate kids and have a tough conversation.
"Make sure you're talking to them about what's appropriate, what's not appropriate," Wellens said. "How we don't keep secrets. In most of these situations, it's generally someone the victim knows as in this case with Mr. Heintz. It's important children feel comfortable. They can tell their parents and know they can be trusted."
For the time being, Heintz will be living in South Milwaukee because under certain laws, he won't be allowed to move anywhere else.
"Many cities have sex offender ordinance rules in place," Wellens said. "Some of them prohibit individuals who were not living in their jurisdiction at the time they committed their offense, they will not be allowed to move back. Milwaukee has that ordinance. He'd not be allowed to go back and live in the city of Milwaukee. Mr. Heintz was residing in the city of South Milwaukee when he committed his offense so he'll be coming back to the city of South Milwaukee because this is where he lived at the time."
The police department urges residents to call 911 if they see Heintz committing any criminal behavior as you would for anyone committing a crime.
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