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Press Release

Thefts on Menominee Indian Reservation Result in Prison Sentence for Keshena Man

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

Gregory J. Haanstad, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that Merwin J. “Pete” Wynos (age: 36), a former resident of Keshena and an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, received a sentence of 30 months in federal prison following a conviction for theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 661 and 1153(a).

The sentence, imposed on March 20, 2024, by Senior United States District Judge William C. Griesbach, was the result of a guilty plea entered by the defendant on January 16, 2024. Wynos will also face three years of supervised release once he completes his sentence.

According to court records, on September 25, 2023, several companies reported thefts of equipment from the site of the new Menominee Indian High School in Keshena. Investigators for the Menominee Tribal Police Department and Menominee County Sheriff’s Office discovered that Wynos  had entered the closed, fenced, and locked construction site during nighttime hours. Wynos used a utility vehicle on the site to transport construction tools and electronics that he took from construction trailers to his residence. Wynos attempted to sell some of the items at local pawn shops, which reported their suspicions to the police. Wynos was arrested after being caught with others in a car full of stolen construction tools and, after being released from tribal custody, entered the construction site again on November 25, 2023. Wynos was caught on the site taking additional items and was re-arrested. Wynos admitted in court to being responsible for three separate theft incidents on the construction site and will pay over $29,000 in restitution to the victims.

At sentencing, Judge Griesbach noted the need to punish Wynos for the persistent nature of his crimes. Judge Griesbach said, “Stealing from hard working people, especially those building a new school that will help your community, shows a persistent willingness to violate the law.” Judge Griesbach also described the need to show the community that there is a punishment for this sort of behavior.

The Menominee Tribal Police Department, Menominee County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Andrew J. Maier prosecuted the case in U.S. District Court in Green Bay.


For further information contact:

Public Information Officer

(414) 297-1700

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Updated March 21, 2024