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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pleased to announce the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) has played a key role in helping local law enforcement identify suspects in a string of burglaries throughout Southern Wisconsin.
On January 4, 2013, the Whitewater Police Department issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert concerning a burglary that occurred that morning at an AmeriGas location. As part of the alert, investigators noted a similar burglary occurred during the same approximate time period at an AmeriGas in McFarland.
Almost a year earlier, in March 2012, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department responded to a reported burglary at an AmeriGas location in Beaver Dam. At the time, other AmeriGas locations in the vicinity also experienced break-ins.
When the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department received the Crime Alert from Whitewater police on January 4, 2013, with information that the suspects were active again and targeting AmeriGas locations, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Department took preemptive measures and installed a surveillance system at the Beaver Dam AmeriGas location.
On January 18, 2013, the surveillance system was activated and two suspects, one of them armed with a handgun, were caught breaking into the AmeriGas Beaver Dam location, and arrested. The suspects have been charged with the January 18, 2013, burglary as well as the March 2012 Beaver Dam burglary.
Similar burglaries elsewhere across the state remain under investigation.
“As law enforcement officers continue to use the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, we’re hearing of more ‘success stories’ like this one, cases that have been solved either through information from the public or from agencies talking more quickly and effectively to one another, and that’s the mission of the Network,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.
“We appreciate the efforts and initiatives of the Attorney General’s Office. It really solidifies our partnership for the betterment of the citizenry,” Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls said.
Since it became operational in fall of 2011, more than 1,100 Wisconsin Crime Alert Network alerts have gone out. Crimes in which the WCAN has played a key role include sexual assaults, endangered missing persons, as well as cases of theft and robbery. Officers report several cases that were solved within one hour of using the WCAN.
With the WCAN, law enforcement officers issue alerts at no cost either by fax, e-mail or text message to individuals and business owners, who may enroll online to receive alerts at a cost of $12 a year. To enroll or to learn more about the WCAN, visit the website http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/
The WCAN also is hosting free crime prevention webinars for subscribers. The next scheduled training is Wednesday, March 6, 2013, from 1:30-2:15 pm. It is entitled “Sex Offenders - What Every Person/Business Needs To Know” and it will cover who is required to register as a sex offender in Wisconsin and what information is reported, how community notification is determined, and how people can access sex offender registration information. Visit http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/Learn.html for details.