MPD: ‘Band of thieves’ breaking into cars on Madison’s west side

The Madison Police Department is warning of a rash of break-ins of unlocked vehicles parked on...
The Madison Police Department is warning of a rash of break-ins of unlocked vehicles parked on the city's west side.(NBC15)
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 10:06 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A ‘band of thieves’ is plaguing the Madison’s west side right now. That’s the warning from the Madison Police Department, which explained Wednesday that the suspects have been seen on video checking car doors.

When they find an unlocked vehicle, the individuals have swiped key fobs, personal belongings, and even firearms, the MPD statement explained. If they find keys, the thieves have been known to swipe the vehicle.

A garage door opener left in the car could give thieves access to the house, the police department noted, adding that once inside, they may find keys in a purse or hanging on a hook and then swipe the vehicle.

“I am made very uneasy by this, and I bet you are as well,” MPD West District Captain Kelly Beckett wrote. Asking for the community’s help curbing such crimes of opportunity, she urged people to report to police if they see a vehicle driving slowly down the street in the middle of the night.

Beckett also asked people to let their neighbors know if they see their garage doors are open at night. Similarly, if MPD officers see an open garage while on overnight patrols, they may knock on the individual’s door to alert them.

“We reduce crimes of opportunity by being well, neighborly. No one is perfect,” she continued. “We get distracted and forget to do things, or worse yet, think we did them without actually doing them!”

The statement urged people not to keep firearms in the vehicles and to take a moment to double check that everything in the vehicle is secured – and that the garage door is closed.

Beckett assured the community that detectives take these crimes “very, very seriously… (and) are constantly trying to improve our investigative process.” She recommended people check out MPD’s Good Neighbor Project, its community safety program.

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