Area Police Report More Stolen Auto Activity

by Safety Connection

March 12, 2023

Monona Police Department Chief Brian Chaney issued a strong warning after 2 dangerous incidents occurred during a Countywide Stolen Auto Recovery Initiative this week. In one incident a driver fleeing police sideswiped a Madison Metro bus and a squad car.

According to Chaney, “The Asst DA handling the initial appearance made a very strong bail argument on this case citing this was ‘one of the most egregious [felony eluding] cases” they’ve seen.'”

About 3 hours later another driver sped away from an attempted traffic stop, ran a red light and then led police on a chase on the Beltline and in the City of Fitchburg and near the Village of Oregon. According to Monona Police, “At one point, the driver discarded a bag of suspected illegal drugs from the vehicle.”

Both drivers were eventually taken into custody and charged with numerous offenses. You can read the full release here.

“Let the message be clear.  Monona will not tolerate this type of dangerous behavior in our shared community.  Monona Police remain committed to working in partnership with our stakeholders and law enforcement partners to enforce the law and safely and effectively apprehend those who attempt to flee from us.  
Not in Monona.  Not in Dane County.”

City of Monona police chief Brian Chaney

Meanwhile in Fitchburg, Lieutenant Edward Hartwick released an alert on Saturday (3/11/23) about a rash of stolen autos that occurred in the City of Fitchburg from Friday, March 10 into Saturday March 11. “Five vehicles were reported stolen, and a suspect or suspects attempted to steal a sixth.” All vehicles were taken from either Leopold Way, Pike Drive or Whispering Pines Way.

Four of the five vehicles had been recovered at the time of the alert. And ALL OF THE STOLEN VEHICLES IN THESE INCIDENTS WERE EITHER HYUNDAI OR KIA MODELS.

“If you see suspicious activity or you become the victim of a crime, including a smashed window, you are encouraged to report the incident as soon as possible.”

Lt. Edward Hartwick – Fitchburg Police Department

We told you last month that Hyundai and Kia both announced a free fix for vehicle owners. If you own a vehicle from either of these manufacturers, you can check here to see if your vehicle is eligible for the software update.

Lt. Hartwick also urges Kia and Hyundai owners to:

Use a steering wheel lock

Report Suspicious and Criminal Activity (including if your vehicle window is smashed)

If you have information about the stolen autos in Fitchburg, contact the Fitchburg Police Department at (608) 270-4300 or Madison Area Crime Stoppers at (608) 266-6014 or

**Update 3-14-23** Lt. Hartwick of the Fitchburg Police Department shared information with NBC15 News:

“We typically see spurts of activity where cars will be stolen in one community and then used for other property crimes in another neighboring community,” Hartwick said. “I think that’s the one thing that folks may tend to forget about when a car is stolen–it then allows those individuals to commit crimes rather quickly in other parts of the area.”

**Update 3-21-23** Fitchburg was once again hit with stolen auto thefts and issued this update:

The Fitchburg Police Department is investigating incidents that occurred overnight Monday on Arugula Road and Endive Drive in the Terravesa neighborhood.

In one incident, unknown suspects entered an unlocked vehicle in the driveway and found the fob along with a garage door opener. The garage door opener was used to open the garage, where the suspects found a second car with the fob inside of it. Both vehicles were stolen from the residence.

In the second incident, unknown suspects entered an unlocked vehicle in the driveway and found the fob/keys along with a garage door opener. The suspects opened the garage door but did not take anything from the garage. The vehicle from the driveway was stolen.

These incidents are inconsistent with the recent Hyundai and Kia vehicle theft trend. However, officers also investigated four attempted vehicle thefts that occurred Monday night on Breckenridge Court. All of the targeted vehicles were either Hyundai or Kias, and all had their windows smashed. The investigation into all of these incidents remains open.

Anyone with security video devices in the Terravesa neighborhood is asked to check for any suspicious activity from Monday night.

The Fitchburg Police Department appreciates your partnership in preventing crime. Here are several tips to help prevent most property crimes we investigate.

•If a door has a lock, use it. This includes the door from your garage to your residence. Keep exterior doors locked even when you are home.

•Leave your exterior home lights on and/or utilize motion-detecting lights.

•Whether they are in your car, garage, or house, don’t keep valuables in plain sight. This includes your garage door opener.

•Removing valuables from your car is better than hiding them. This includes your garage door opener and any spare keys.

•If you use a remote to lock your car, check each door to ensure it is locked.

•Keep your garage door closed at all times.

•Incorporate these tips into an evening routine.

•Report suspicious activity and all criminal activity immediately by calling (608)270-4300. When investigating property crime, we often learn of neighbors who may have had a vehicle or garage gone through but did not report it. Whether it’s criminal or suspicious activity, please report it.

If you missed our east district community meeting, you can join us Thursday for our central police district meeting: As part of the presentation, we will review property crime trends and prevention tips.

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