Trial date set for Wittenberg village president

Switalla charged with a felony count of burglary
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A trial date has been set in the felony burglary case against Wittenberg Village President and Shawano County Supervisor William J. Switalla.

The case is scheduled to go before a jury in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court on June 12.

Switalla’s attorney, Paul Payant, requested the case be heard by a jury rather than having a court trial before the judge.

The trial date was set after a pre-trial conference Friday. There is one more pre-trial conference scheduled before the trial, on June 6.

Switalla is accused of breaking into a garage and taking a grill from a property the county had acquired in foreclosure.

Payant has previously argued that there had been no felony committed; that Switalla removed the grill from the property along with garbage he offered to clean up for the county at the property the county had acquired.

Payant also questioned whether County Treasurer Deb Wallace, who signed the non-consent form stating Switalla had no authority to take the grill, was in a position to claim ownership of the property.

It was Wallace who referred the matter to the county’s corporation counsel, who referred it to the sheriff’s department for investigation.

According to the criminal complaint, Switalla was among several county officials who went out to view the property at 715 Webb St. in Wittenberg on April 24 to establish a sale price.

When the county treasurer’s office held an open house at the property for interested buyers on May 23, the staff noticed that the house and garage door were unlocked and items appeared to be missing from the garage.

Neighbors informed them that they had seen Switalla loading a grill from the garage into his van, according to the complaint.

The grill was later returned to the property.

Neighbors also told authorities that numerous other people had been at the house since the previous owner had left.

The criminal complaint charges Switalla with one felony count of burglary, which carries a maximum possible penalty of 12½ years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine if found guilty.

He is also charged with a misdemeanor count of theft.

Switalla is free on a $2,000 signature bond.

Switalla will be on the election ballot April 3 in his bid for another term as village president. He is not facing any challengers.