License plate readers led officers to Green Bay murder suspect

Police credit the city's new license plate reader cameras for helping them track down Alejandro Cantu
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 4:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2022 at 9:10 PM CDT
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clarification: Updated to clarify the search warrant was executed after Alejandro Cantu was detained.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The second of two brothers, wanted for a shooting death in Green Bay was taken into custody after officers utilized the city’s license plate readers.

Alejandro P. Cantu, 31, was booked into the Brown County Jail overnight Thursday on multiple charges, including 1st Degree Intentional Homicide - Party to the Crime. He made his initial appearance Thursday afternoon and was ordered held on $2 million cash bond, like his brother.

Gustavo and Alejandro Cantu, along with Jacob Ventura, are both accused in the shooting death of Randall Denny. Denny was found in the street at Western and Perkins avenues in April. He’d been shot in the head.

“My son had no opportunity. He was tried, everything right there,” Denny’s mother said in court asking for Alejandro to be held without bond. “What this young man did to my son is unspeakable.”

Wednesday, the same day Gustavo made his first appearance in Brown County court, officers were notified that Alejandro, who was believed to have fled to Texas with his brother, had returned to the Green Bay area.

Police started using the city’s roadside license plate readers and identified a vehicle Cantu was traveling in, according to a media release. An “attempt to locate” was sent out to local departments.

Police say on Thursday, at about 12:40 A.M., a Brown County deputy located the vehicle at a hotel on Green Bay’s east side and called it in.

According to Green Bay Police, officers detained Alejandro Cantu at the hotel, and three women who were with him, without incident.

Alejandro Cantu was taken to the Brown County Jail. The women were interviewed and released.

Police obtained a search warrant for a hotel room and found narcotics and paraphernalia. The evidence is being processed and tested and will be handed to the District Attorney’s Office for possible additional charges.

As we reported last week, Gustavo Cantu, 39, was arrested by law enforcement in Kerr County, Texas, north of San Antonio, after investigators learned the brothers were hiding there. A court official set Gustavo Cantu’s bond at $2 million cash Wednesday.

Thursday, prosecutors gave a timeline of Denny’s murder, which they say happened over a drug dispute.

“Various surveillance videos that were obtained have all three parties observed together fleeing. First in Bonduel, within an hour of the homicide taking place, and then later their arrival of Tigerton. In Tigerton, Mr. Ventura and both of the Cantus destroyed various items of evidence related to the homicide,” Brown County prosecutor Hanna Schuchart said.

Ventura, also from Green Bay, is charged with 1st Degree Intentional Homicide and Use of a Dangerous Weapon.

A person arrested in Texas with Gustavo Cantu as a possible accomplice, Naomi Rose Cadotte, also made a court appearance Thursday. She is not charged as an accomplice but was given a $5,000 cash bond for a number of drug possession charges.

In July, Action 2 News reported on Green Bay’s license plate readers program.

Twenty-eight Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras were strategically placed around the city. They were set up along major thoroughfares, not residential areas, to record vehicles as they drive by.

The information is stored in a database for only 30 days. In the event of a public safety need, like a shooting or an Amber Alert, police can access the database and try to identify a vehicle involved.

At Tuesday’s Green Bay Common Council meeting, alders approved funding the cameras for one year. Their use by police was on a 60 day trial.

Police learned Alejandro Cantu was back in Green Bay and found him using the city's new license plate reader cameras