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Police: Man arrested after smashing car windows at Valley View Mall in La Crosse

Police: Man arrested after smashing car windows at Valley View Mall in La Crosse

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Uneke Scarbrough


A homeless man was arrested Tuesday after smashing the windows out of two cars outside Valley View Mall and trying to steal the keys from the drivers inside, according to La Crosse police.

Both the La Crosse and Onalaska police departments were called at about 2:40 p.m. to the mall on Hwy. 16 for a complaint that someone was smashing car windows.

They arrived to find Uneke R. Scarbrough, 27, who witnesses say smashed the window of one car and tried to forcibly take the keys and cellphone of the driver, according to police. He went on to smash the window of another car and try to take the keys of the driver in that vehicle as well.

According to police, he also attempted to physically resist police once he was taken into custody on charges of operating a motor vehicle without consent using force, robbery with use of force, theft, criminal damage to property, disorderly conduct and misdemeanor bail jumping.

Scarbrough was ordered held on a $10,000 cash bond by Judge Scott Horne Wednesday during a conflict-laden appearance in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

Prosecutor Jessica Skemp requested a high cash bond, saying, “He’s not from the area. He has no local ties,” before she was interrupted by Scarbrough saying, “I’ve got ties, baby.”

As Skemp continued her argument for a cash bond, Scarbrough interrupted her a second time, saying, “I need to go ahead and talk, too. She’s doing too much talking.”

Horne instructed Scarbrough to wait his turn.

After Skemp finished, Scarbrough denied having any mental health requirements and refused any medication.

“The other thing I want to say is I would like to go ahead and plead guilty to everything now,” Scarbrough said.

He also declined a public defender, saying he would represent himself several times.

He muttered, “I don’t care,” as Horne explained that attorneys are trained in the law and better able to navigate the legal system than lay people, and continued to interrupt as Horne spoke.

Scarbrough will be back in court at 2 p.m. Friday via video conferencing from the jail.

It’s not the first time Scarbrough has gotten into trouble for breaking windows in La Crosse County. He was charged last week with criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct — both misdemeanors — after he was accused of breaking two windows Jan. 7 at the Catholic Charities Warming Center.

According to the criminal complaint, Scarbrough was told that the Warming Center was at capacity when he arrived after 9 p.m. Jan. 7. He became upset and began pacing outside before throwing a brick through one window and attempting to smash another with a metal pole.

Scarbrough was using the pole on the second window when police arrived, according to the complaint, and then began moving toward police aggressively before giving up when an officer drew his stun gun.

While charges were filed Jan. 8, Scarbrough remained in the La Crosse County Jail, refusing to come to La Crosse County Circuit Court for his initial appearance until Monday, when he was given a $500 signature bond by Horne.

Jourdan Vian can be reached at or follow her on Twitter at @Jourdan_LCT.


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Jourdan Vian is a reporter and columnist covering crime and courts for the La Crosse Tribune. She can be reached at 608-791-8218.

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