Police: Employee, told customer (Henson) was a Buck, asked police to stay


Bucks big man John Henson alleged yesterday that employees of a Milwaukee-suburb jewelry store discriminated against him.

The Whitefish Bay Police Department released a statement detailing the events surrounding Henson’s encounter. Via Deadspin:

Friday, 10/16/15


On Friday, 10/16/15, the Whitefish Bay Police Department responded to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, 417 E. Silver Spring Dr., at 3:57 pm, for a suspicious activity call. Upon arrival our officer met with an employee of the store who reported they had received a phone call on Thursday, 10/15/15, between 2:00 pm and 3:00 pm inquiring as to when they close. The employee told our officer they also received a similar call today (10/16/15) again inquiring as to when they closed. The store’s normal closing time is 5:30 pm and the store employee made the decision to close at 5:00 pm as a precaution.

Theft History

Schwanke Kastren Jewelers has been the victim of robberies at their Milwaukee stores in the past 2 years and there was a theft from their Whitefish Bay Store on 9/7/13 when a suspect grabbed four Rolex watches and fled from the store. In the past several years, throughout the upper Midwest, stores that sell Rolex watches have been the victims of armed robberies, of which several store employees were hurt in these robberies.

Friday, 10/16/15


Our officer parked directly in front of Schwanke Kasten Jewelers store in a dark brown unmarked 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle. At approximately 4:58 pm, our officer observes a newer red Chevrolet Tahoe park in front of our Tahoe. The officer observed four individuals walk up to the door. The officer observed the people walk up to the door but it appeared that the door was locked. He heard discussion between them and an employee inside the store. At this time the lights in the store were turned off. The officer observed the people get back into the Tahoe and they drove away. The officer noted that the Tahoe had a State of Wisconsin issued Dealer license plate. The officer queried the State TIME system computer to ascertain ownership of the vehicle. It listed to a Wisconsin dealership but not to a specific vehicle.

Friday, 10/16/15


Our officer called the dealership and provided an employee with the plate number and a description of the vehicle. The employee stated that the plate listed to a partner dealership and transferred that officer to the other dealership. This person did not recognize the vehicle nor the occupants as being from the dealership. The officer inquired about ways people could get a hold of these type of plates and the employee informed the officer that they ship many cars to Chicago and it’s possible somebody stole the plates.

My officer called the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee back and informed her that he had spoken to the dealership with whom the plates are listed. He informed the employee that the dealership was running low on plates and that the plates were potentially stolen but that they were not listed as stolen. He advised the employee that if the vehicle came back to call the station.

Sunday, 10/18/15


On Sunday, 10/18/15, 11:21am, Tom Dixon, the owner of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers, came to our station and spoke with an officer to report that a Green Bay store that sells Rolex watches was burglarized overnight. He provided our officer with a surveillance photo from that incident of a white male in a mask. He requested extra watch at his store when it opened on Monday, 10/19/15.

Monday, 10/19/15


On Monday, 10/19/15 at 1:20 pm, Whitefish Bay officers were dispatched to Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers as the Red Tahoe had returned. Officers met up in front of 5500 N. Berkeley which is around the corner from Schwanke-Kasten.. They observed two men in front of the store. The officer ran the license plate and it came back to a Ford dealership and came back as “No Vehicle Attached” and was not listed as stolen.

The two Whitefish Bay officers approached the two men in front of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers and asked what was going on. A man, later identified as John Henson, informed the officer that he was there to buy his first Rolex, but every time he tries the door, it’s locked and they don’t let him in. One of the officers asks him about the dealer plates on the Tahoe. He advises the officer that he plays for the Milwaukee Bucks and that Bucks players get vehicles from this dealership. Neither officer asked Mr. Henson or his companion for driver licenses or any other identification.

The officer called dispatch to request that a Schwanke-Kasten employee come to the front door. The employee told the dispatcher to have the officer come to the back door. After my officer informed the Schwanke-Kasten Jewelers employee that it was a Milwaukee Buck, the employee came to the front door and let them in. The employee requested that an officer stand by as they looked at the Rolexes, our officers refused and left the store. The officers then left the area.

At no time did Whitefish Bay Police make any notice to merchants on Silver Spring because of these incidents.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael D. Young

Chief of Police

This provides some clarity, but it leaves several unanswered questions:

Why did store employees deem someone calling to ask what time it closed to be suspicious? Doesn’t that happen frequently at every business?

What did the people from the red Tahoe tell the store employee on Friday? Was it also suspicious?

How paranoid is the owner of the jewelry store? Why would he need additional security because a jewelry store 100 miles away was robbed? Is their a connection this police statement fails to note?

Why did the jewelry store employee, even after learning the customer played for the Bucks, ask police to monitor the transaction? What possible motivation could the employee have had for that request?


Update: Jeff Rumage of Whitefish Bay Now:

Tom Dixon, the president of Schwanke-Kasten Jewelry, said in a statement that he has met Henson before, and there is no excuse for how the Bucks player was treated.

“John Henson is a valued member of the Bucks basketball organization and a valued member of the Milwaukee community,” he said. “We believe that everyone – professional athlete or not – deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I have reached out to the Bucks organization and hope to sit down directly with John Henson to look one another in the eye, shake hands, and apologize for what he experienced.”

Dixon said the employees’ reaction was based on a security scare that occurred on Friday, when the store received multiple calls inquiring how much of specific types of inventory were in stock and what time the store closed. Based on those concerns, the store closed 30 minutes early and employees notified the Whitefish Bay Police Department.