In 1964, Milwaukee bikers formed an Outlaws chapter. It was the first outside Chicago, and Milwaukee has since remained a stronghold of the club. The Heaven’s Devils Motorcycle Club of Milwaukee was formed in August 1964, by a group of friends who were passionate about motorcycles, riding and having a good time.
For years, the group passed with little notice in Milwaukee, but in the 1970s, law enforcement officers in Milwaukee pursued the Outlaws, mostly for stolen car rings and beatings of rival biker gang members. Investigations took a more serious turn on November 5, 1974, when Milwaukee Sentinel carrier Larry Anstett, 15, was killed while delivering papers when he picked up a bomb disguised as a present. The bomb was sitting on an Oldsmobile owned by Michael Vermilyea, a member of the rival Heaven’s Devils motorcycle club who had testified against the Outlaws.
The Sentinel offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the paperboy’s killer. Vermilyea’s father put up another $1,000. And for a solid year, two police detectives worked the case full time, following thousands of leads, traveling thousands of miles, compiling thousands of pages of interviews and reports. But the case was never closed, the rewards never collected. Leads went cold. Witnesses refused to cooperate, fearing reprisal by the Outlaws.
The most shocking crime linked to Outlaws with ties to Milwaukee was the 1993 execution of an elderly couple, Ruth and Morrie Gauger, and the robbery of their motorcycle shop in McHenry County, Ill., according to court documents. There were also attacks on rival gangs, especially the Hells Angels, who were making incursions into Wisconsin, territory long held by the Outlaws.
In August 2003, three Outlaws club members filed a federal lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and Summerfest, contending they were wrongly ejected from the music festival because they refused to take off or obscure their colors showing the Outlaws’ logo. That lawsuit was dismissed in 2004.
“Milwaukee Jack” Rosga became the club’s leader in 2006.
Jack Rosga and two other Outlaws members sued the City of Milwaukee in 2007, contending that police had harassed the club’s members and searched their clubhouse without a warrant. The lawsuit was dropped in 2008.
Randy Yager made his first initial appearance in Milwaukee federal court on May 22, 2015. A judge is currently considering his request to postpone the August trial date in the case. Yager’s attorney, Stephen Hurley of Madison, said in a motion that Yager can only review documents on a computer 20 minutes a day, and that there are more than 50,000 pages of discovery material.
Gerald Yager, 68, was found in a Gary, Indiana house where fire broke out in early June, according to the Northwest Times. Gary officials call the death a homicide and the fire a likely arson. Gerald Yager was also an Outlaw, though not as heavily involved in the club as his younger brother.