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Chicago man charged after bashing a sign at television studios


ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WLUK) -- A man suspected of stealing a crucifix from a church and using it to bash a sign outside FOX 11's studios was arrested in Wausau, Wis. Friday night.

Ashwaubenon Public Safety says Brendan McSweeney, 29, of Chicago is also suspected of causing damage to a business in Wausau.

McSweeney is suspected of walking into Nativity of Our Lord Parish in Ashwaubenon on Friday morning, acting strangely, grabbing a crucifix and walking out. Minutes later, he arrived outside the FOX 11 studios and began hitting a digital signboard with the crucifix before being chased off by a FOX 11 employee.

Investigators say McSweeney's uncle, who lives in Little Chute, called Ashwaubenon authorities Monday morning. The uncle said McSweeney stopped at his house Friday morning after the Ashwaubenon incidents. McSweeney was wearing the same clothes as seen in surveillance images, and was acting strangely. The uncle said McSweeney then left his house to return to Green Bay, where McSweeney's sister lives.

The uncle told police McSweeney had not been taking medications for a mental illness, and these kinds of incidents are common when McSweeney is not taking his medication.

In the Marathon County case, McSweeney was charged with causing a disturbance at a pizza restaurant at about 6 p.m. Friday.

A short time later, an officer encountered a man matching the description of the suspect. He began yelling at the officer, at one asking “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” He “aggressively inched closer” to the officers while screaming, so an officer used his Taser on him. McSweeney ran off, so the officer chased and tackled him -- and then arrested him, according to the complaint.

The complaint does not mention any of the Brown County incidents.

McSweeney has been charged in Marathon County with two counts of disorderly conduct, resisting or obstructing an officer and criminal damage to property. He appeared in court in Wausau Monday afternoon.

In Brown County, he has been charged with felony counts of theft, criminal damage to personal property and criminal damage to property; and a misdemeanor county of disorderly conduct.

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