Police frustrated over rash of car thefts by juvenile offenders

MADISON (WKOW) — Law enforcement officers in Dane County are still frustrated over teenagers stealing cars. It’s a disturbing trend taking place in the area over the past year. Teens are stealing cars and taking them on joy rides.

Juvenile Court Administrator John Bauman believes it’s a core group of repeat offenders. Even if they’re arrested, they’re released not long after and do it again.

So what’s being done to protect your vehicle from these thieves?

“Often there are placements or attempted [moves] out of the county to try to break the cycle of them running around with their peers stealing cars. Ultimately right now, corrections is the last stop for a period of time for those youth,” Bauman said.

Bauman believes some teens are simply not afraid of the consequences.

“And not thinking through the potential injury to themselves, even much less innocent bystanders,” he said.

He said the Juvenile Retention Center (JRC) works with outside agencies to help get kids on a different path.

“We certainly have services we provide temporarily while youth are with us. Either at shelter or in detention. Our home detention program monitors youth while court’s going through the process in the community,” Bauman said.

There was an incident in Fitchburg recently where a teenagers were found in a stolen car with garage door openers to nearby homes.

Fitchburg Deputy Chief Donald Bates is frustrated, saying this amounts to nothing more than a revolving door in the juvenile court system.

“We had a 15-year-old juvenile in the Allied Drive area, took off, crashed the vehicle. She was held responsible for that. Subsequently got out of JRC. It was a day or two later, she was arrested again for motor vehicle theft,” Bates said.

According to a blog post by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval, 32 juvenile offenders have accounted for 37 stolen auto incidents in Madison between January 1st and July 19th of 2018.

More on this story from WKOW 27 News

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