FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Fond du Lac police say a series of car thefts occurred around the city Monday and Tuesday.
In a press release, police said they've received a flood of complaints about debit cards, credit cards, and other miscellaneous items being stolen out of parked cars. Initial complaints suggest approximately 15 to 20 vehicles were stolen from in just two days.
Fond du Lac resident Tabatha Bott was one of the victims of the recent break-ins, but didn't report to police. She says on the morning of May 9, she noticed her car looked like it had been rummaged through the night before. Nothing was stolen from the car, so she says she initially thought nothing of it.
“I came outside to take the kids to school and I noticed some stuff was on the ground, on the floor of the car, so I asked my husband 'Hey did you move this around?'," Bott said.
When she woke up the next day and discovered her car had been searched through once again, she knew she had been the victim of a break-in. Fortunately for Bott, there was nothing valuable in the car that whoever had broken in could take.
Police identified two areas where the majority of the complaints of car thefts had come from. One was on the west side of the city near Sabish Middle School and the other was on the east side near St. Agnes Hospital. Bott lives approximately five minutes away from both areas.
When she heard the news about the slew of break-ins, she says she wondered how many other break-ins had occurred that hadn't been reported to police.
"I was glad to know that it was a legitimate thing and it wasn't just in my head or something was happening just to me," Bott said.
Fond du Lac detective Nick Hahn said there were six vehicles that were broken into in the area surrounding St. Agnes Hospital. He says the department has a lead on a suspect and suspect vehicle for the break-ins that took place outside the hospital, but police are not sharing that information with the public at this time. Police do not believe those six break-ins are connected to the others around the city.
"The vehicle entries that we've been experiencing in town, I think they're separate from the ones that we experienced at St. Agnes. We don't believe that it's the same person," Hahn said.
Hahn says the department will typically see an uptick in car thefts around this time of year when the weather warms up, but to have this many incidents in such a short window is highly unusual. In addition to the recent break-ins, he says there's been seven cars stolen in Fond du Lac just in the past month. As police continue to investigate, they're urging the public to take precautions.
"The best thing you can do is lock your doors and keep your valuables out of your car," Hahn said. "If you do have valuables in your car, keep them in the glove box locked up, keep them in the center console, somewhere where it’s not viewable outside.”
Those with information about the thefts can contact Detective Nick Hahn at (920) 322-3721 or firstname.lastname@example.org or the Crime Alert line at (920) 322-3740.