BY TERRY FLORES Journal Times
A Mount Pleasant man is among the 17 members of a Midwest motorcycle gang indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on 34 criminal acts of racketeering, including the 1992 execution-style murder of a town of Burlington man in 1992.
Federal law en-forcement authorities are calling the indictment returned against the Outlaws Motorcycle Club one of the largest ever in Wisconsin. The indictments stem from a 7-year string of murders, at-tempted murders, bombings and arson attacks in a violent turf war against rival members of the Hell's Angels.
The two groups are the largest motorcycle gangs in the country.
Kevin Patrick O'Neill, 40, of 3409 S. Green Bay Road in Mount Pleasant, and Robert Allen Kruppstadt, 32, of 2310 S. Green Bay Road in Racine, are the president and vice-president, respectively, of the Wisconsin Janesville Chapter of the Outlaws, according to the indictment.
The two men were arrested with the assistance of members of the Racine County Sheriff's Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms during an early morning raid of their homes in Illinois and Wisconsin.
O'Neill, also known as “Spike", is believed responsible for organizing murders against rival motorcycle gang members and was arrested at his Gurnee, Ill., home after he surrendered to a Racine County Metro Drug agent, Lake County sheriff's detectives and two ATF agents, said Racine County Sheriff William McReynolds.
The charges listed in the 50-page indictment represent one of the largest ever against a motorcycle club with roots in organized crime in Wisconsin said Tom Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin based in Milwaukee.
Of those indicted, 14 members have been arrested. They belong to chapters in Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Janesville and La Crosse, and in Chicago and Gary, Ind.
O'Neill is at the top of the list of most of the charges in which the U.S. Attorneys' office aims to establish a “pattern of racketeering activity" to convicted Outlaw club members. O'Neill will make a court appearance in Illinois before facing arraignment in Milwaukee, Schneider said.
“This is one of the largest indictments because it involves more than one chapter," he said, adding that most indictments have gone after individuals in the past. “The Outlaws are more than just a motorcycle club. They are a sophisticated and dangerous organized crime group which has repeatedly resorted to bombings and murder to protect their ongoing criminal enterprise."
The indictment alleges that Outlaws were involved in a series of violent acts, including six murders, aimed at the Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club.
Among those acts listed is the murder of Donald Wagner, a town of Burlington man who was killed in an execution-style shooting on Hoosier Creek Road, east of Highway 83 near the southern border of Racine County. Wagner, 46, of 30220 Poplar Drive, died in a canoe launch area.
O'Neill and two others are listed as the men responsible for Wagner's death, according to the indictment.
“With this indictment we will clear this homicide up," McReynolds said.
On Aug. 23, 1992, Wagner was shot in the head several times at a remote parking lot. According to a Racine County Sheriff's report, marijuana was found in a search of Wagner's home and investigators learned he sold the drug to friends.
Even in the first few days after Wagner's death, Racine County investigators began piecing together the case and its ties with criminal activities within local motorcycle clubs.
Two and a half years ago the Racine County Sheriff's Department also joined a federal task force aimed at curbing motorcycle gang activity after investigators had learned the Outlaws began subleasing a Union Grove building at 1106 Main St. that they used as a meeting place, McReynolds said.
The task force includes members of the ATF and law enforcement authorities from Milwaukee, Kenosha County, Grant Cunty and Lake County, Ill.
“We had become actively involved when we saw a large amount of their activities surfacing in the Union Grove and Mount Pleasant areas," McReynolds said. “I think it was a fantastic investment on the part of our operation to become involved in this task force. I think we will see a substantial impact on Outlaw activity in the county."
McReynolds, who is from Union Grove, said the Outlaws maintained a low profile in the small village and used the building as a substitute clubhouse for about a year and a half after another clubhouse in Antioch, Ill., burned down in 1994. They later established a meeting place in Janesville.
“They never really stirred anything up around here," McReynolds said. “I can say we put a lot of pressure on them in Union Grove."
The Main Street building is currently vacant, McReynolds said.
“I think the Outlaws thought they were untouchable. They really thought they were one step ahead of us," he added. “This puts the message out that they're not untouchable and we'll do what it takes to eliminate this type of criminal activity in Racine County."
Of the investigation, Schneider said: “Today is the beginning of the end of their trail of murders, bombing, drugs and stolen vehicles."
Members allegedly engaged in narcotics trafficking, stolen vehicles and passing counterfeit currency, authorities said.
They robbed and bombed rival gang members and their properties, said Jerry Singer, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“There has been a continuing feud between the Hells Angels and the Outlaw motorcycle gang, which are the two largest motorcycle gangs in the United States," Singer said. “It spreads out to other biker organizations that are affiliates."
Members engaging in criminal activity were expected to contribute a portion of their profits to the club, prosecutors said.
The Outlaws also intimidated owners, employees and customers of businesses that the Hells Angels and other rival gangs frequented and threatened the use of explosives while conducting “the affairs of the enterprise," the indictment said.
Of those arrested, 13 were from the Wisconsin chapter once known as the Booze Runners, three were from Chicago and one from Indiana. The murders were in Wisconsin, Illinois and New York.
Tuesday's indictment also accused two gang members of bludgeoning and stabbing motorcycle repair shop owner Morris Gauger, 74, and his wife, Ruth, 70, during a robbery at the couple's farm outside Richmond, Ill.
Three men were still being sought Tuesday afternoon, including Randy “Mad" Yager, 40, of Gary, Ind., president of the Outlaws' Chicago region, Schneider said.
In Janesville, Alan “Big Al" McVay was arrested Tuesday morning at the Outlaws' clubhouse without incident, ATF agent Mike Casey said. McVay and three other bikers were accused of conspiring to kill LaMonte Mathias in 1994.
“We came up and called him on the phone. We told him we had an arrest warrant for him, and he came out," Casey said. McVay also agreed to chain up the dogs that guard the two-story cement block building on the dead-end street.
Federal officials have previously described how motorcycle gangs have divvied up parts of the country as their turf. The Hells Angels have California and the Pacific Coast, the Outlaws have the Midwest and Southeast, the Pagans have the Northeast, and the Bandidos have Texas and the Southwest, federal authorities say.
According to the indictment, membership in the Outlaws was opened to males only, who begin with a “hanger-on" rank and later a six-month probation period.
Full members are elected by a unanimous vote of the club and are given patches that identify their membership. The club's colors include denim or leather vests with a black patch consisting of the chapter name, a skull and crossed pistons. Women affiliated with the group are called “Old Ladies" and may wear vests with patches that read “Property of the Outlaws."
The charges filed Tuesday carry penalties of up to life imprisonment. The government also is seeking the forfeiture of Outlaw assets, including clubhouses in Janesville, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Chicago, Joliet, Ill., and Gary.