FBI found Robert Crimo’s cell phone on his property, says WI auto shop owner

MIDDLETON, Wis. – Illinois law enforcement on Wednesday shared new details about the Highland Park shooting suspect’s trip to the Madison area.

Authorities say suspect Robert Crimo confessed to police that he drove to Madison, where he saw another holiday celebration and considered assaulting people there as well. The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force says the FBI seized Crimo’s cell phone in Middleton, a neighboring Madison suburb.

The owner of a body shop on University Ave. tells TMJ4 News that the FBI showed up to search the property Tuesday morning. Jim Lund says they found the phone in a pile of dirt at the end of his parking lot.

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“I kept asking myself, why here?” Lund said. “Why Middleton? Why on my property?”

Lund said he has Monday off and is enjoying Independence Day. He returned to his auto repair shop the next day to find federal investigators who were connecting to his property and the alleged Highland Park murder suspect.

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“They needed my permission to search my property around the building,” he said.

According to Lund, the store next door had FBI officers in their office Monday night looking for Crimo’s cell phone. He says it took them several hours to find it hidden in the ground on Tuesday afternoon.

“This is where he buried the phone, and this isn’t my (fake) goose, and it’s pointing exactly where they found it,” Lund said.

The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force says Crimo confessed to police that while he was driving into Madison, he saw a Fourth of July celebration and allegedly considered attempting a second attack.

Deputy chief and PIO Christopher Covelli says Crimo had a firearm and about 60 rounds of ammunition in his car at the time.

“We have no information to suggest he originally intended to go to Madison to carry out another attack,” Covelli said. “We believe he drove around after the initial attack and saw the celebration.”

Several Fourth of July parties and events were planned for Monday in Madison and suburban communities, but authorities say they don’t know at this time which Crimo was planning to attack.

Covelli shared what authorities have learned about why Crimo decided against a second shooting.

“There are indications that he hasn’t given this enough thought and research,” he said.

Authorities say they cannot say why Crimo left the Madison area and returned to Illinois, where he was arrested Monday. Covelli says the FBI knew he dropped his phone thanks to the help of evidence technicians in Madison.

Back at the auto repair shop where the phone was found, Lund says it’s scary to imagine his community grieving too.

“It’s still unbelievable that he was right here and the potential was here and it kind of makes you very nervous that anyone somewhere is safe?” said Lund.

Authorities say the FBI is now searching this cellphone looking for evidence that could be used to advance the state’s case against Crimo.

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