REEDSBURG — Police say a Sauk County Board member shoplifted some soup and a can cooler cover Saturday from two Reedsburg stores, a matter the accused supervisor calls “insignificant.”
The Reedsburg Police Department issued two retail theft citations against Supervisor Wally Czuprynko of Lake Delton after the public quickly identified him in surveillance camera images that were posted to social media.
Police Chief Tim Becker said a grocery store and nearby hardware store reported the thefts, but were unable to identify the suspect. The police department posted photos from the businesses to Facebook and asked for the public’s help.
“Within five minutes, we had about 50 people calling us and telling us who he was,” Becker said.
An officer called Czuprynko, and he allegedly admitted to the thefts. Becker described the items the county board member stole as a cup of soup and a can cooler cover worth less than $10.
Czuprynko did not return a phone call Wednesday afternoon, but responded to an email saying he was out of the country until Jan. 21.
“It’s a very convoluted issue that involved a lot of personal issues I have going on in my life, and ultimately is really insignificant,” Czuprynko wrote in the email.
He can either pay the fines and restitution or appear in Reedsburg Municipal Court to contest the citations, according to police.
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Czuprynko was appointed to the board by its former chairman in 2013 and has since been elected three times. He is a leader in county government, having been elected by his peers to the powerful Executive and Legislative Committee.
The panel oversees the county’s chief administrator and attorney, among other officials, and is responsible for “intergovernmental relations and affairs.” It also monitors board rules and weighs in on proposed state laws affecting the county.
Board rules say a supervisor may only be removed from a committee by the board’s chairman or chairwoman with approval from two-thirds of supervisors.
Czuprynko has been involved in recent controversy on the board. In August, he organized an unsuccessful attempt to oust newly elected Chairman Peter Vedro of Baraboo.
Czuprynko complained that Vedro, a progressive, was attempting to advance his “Socialist Dark Side” through countywide advisory referendums. In a series of sarcastic and inflammatory emails to the board, he accused Vedro of “backroom politics” and compared him to the murderous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
Last year, Czuprynko proposed a new rule that would have established drug testing for the board’s 31 members. It was not adopted.
Czuprynko represents the county’s 1st supervisory district, which includes Wards 1 and 2 in the village of Lake Delton.