Media Center

The Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) Helps to Identify Suspects in Coin Thefts at Barron County Laundromats

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 series of coin machine thefts at laundromats throughout Barron County.


“This case is yet another example of how sharing information efficiently can help to solve more cases, more quickly and potentially prevent further victimization,” Attorney General Van Hollen said. 


On September 20, 2013, the Rice Lake Police Department issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert regarding coin machine thefts at multiple laundromats. A photo of a suspect and photo of a vehicle (a gold Ford Explorer) were included with the alert.


On September 30, 2013, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a suspicious white Ford Explorer in the Village of Turtle Lake. The occupants of the vehicle, two females, said that they had run out of gas.  Afterward, a Barron County deputy driving through the City of Cumberland saw a gold Ford Explorer -- that matched the crime alert description and photo -- parked in front of a laundromat. When the deputy turned back, the vehicle was gone.  The Barron County Sheriff’s Department then contacted Cumberland Police, who confirmed someone had broken into the coin machines at their local laundromat.


Barron County asked all officers to be on the lookout for a gold Ford Explorer, which later was located with the white Explorer. One male occupant was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant for “Possession of Burglary Tools” in Dane County.  The gold Explorer was impounded and after a warrant was obtained, $700 in coins -- along with lock picking tools -- were found.  Charges are pending while the investigation continues into whether the suspects are connected to similar incidents in Polk, Burnett, Washburn and Sawyer counties.


Since it became operational in fall of 2011, more than 2,700 Wisconsin Crime Alert Network alerts have gone out.  WCAN alerts have played a role in solving more than three dozen criminal investigations and missing/endangered person cases.  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:


The WCAN also is hosting free crime prevention webinars for subscribers.  The next scheduled training is Wednesday, October 23, 2013, from 2:00-2:30 pm.  It is entitled “Identity Theft Protection – Social Networking,” and it will cover how to protect yourself from the threat of identity theft on social media.  Visit for details.