MADISON (WKOW) -- You've heard the question: How much wood could a woodchuck, chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Contrary to the saying, Madison police are wondering how much wire a woodchuck could chuck.
"Yeah! I was tipped off to it on Thursday of last week," said Lieutenant Tim Peregoy with the Madison Police Department at the East District.
He and his officers say they've never experienced what they've been going through over the past couple of weeks.
"It was definitely a surprise," said Officer Kristin Henderson, who has been with the department for six years.
When she got done with her eight-hour shift a couple of weeks ago, she went to her car to head home.
"I started my car and all of the lights came on, on my dashboard. I thought it was just some type of glitch, so I turned it off and then back on and they came on again," she said.
Knowing there was little she could do, she went home and then took her car to a mechanic. That's where she was told some of her car's electrical wires were tangled and some were even snipped.
"I asked if maybe it looked like somebody had snipped the wires, if it was something I should tell my district captain about, but fortunately it was just a rodent," she said.
But Henderson wasn't alone. More and more officers were experiencing the same thing with their cars. When police looked at surveillance video, they caught the bandit on camera.
"He was going from one car to the next," said Peregoy.
The woodchuck was too big to get under the hoods of the vehicles, but it had no problem chewing the wires from underneath the cars. It cost the victims roughly $500 each. For one officer, it cost her $800 since the woodchuck targeted her vehicle, twice.
"Not cheap, no," Henderson added.
A pest control was called out to set up traps around the parking lot. On Friday, police caught their suspect. It was a large furry fellow who also had a taste for cantaloupe.
Police at the east district had a thorough investigation and found why the woodchuck was targeting only foreign vehicles and not the patrol cars, which are made stateside.
"Foreign cars were using soy-based lubricants on their insulation to their wires and woodchucks -- they naturally eat soybean," Peregoy said, citing several news articles.
The hungry vandal was humanely and safely taken and released to a better habitat.
The traps are still set up around the East District just in case there are more woodchucks looking for wires.
"I'm just hoping we got him and got the right one and there aren't anymore but, we'll see I guess," said a hopeful Henderson.
For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/38313161/2018/05/30/unusual-suspect-caught-damaging-police-officers-personal-cars