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Black Hawk neighborhood residents amp up security after string of car break-ins

MADISON (WKOW) — Car thefts are nothing new in Madison, but in the past month, Madison Police said they dealt with a third more than last year. Those living in the Black Hawk neighborhood have said its having a big impact on their streets.

Tauni Koch said two weeks ago she noticed the tell-tale signs someone was trying to steal her Mercedes.

“You’ll see everything on your seat,” she said. “Your glove box will be open and the doors will probably be barely closed.”

Koch said she usually closes her garage door but on this particularly hot night, she said she had it open about a foot to air it out.

“And they crawled under,” she said.

She said police told her it was likely a group of teens looking for a joy ride but fortunately, Koch said they weren’t able to get away with the car and nothing valuable seemed to have been stolen.

Unfortunately, she said it wasn’t the first time she had woken up to that surprise.

“The third time it happened, I reported it to the police because I realized someone was trying to get into my car and find the keys,” Koch said.

Usually, the potential car thieves broke into the Ford in her driveway, but Koch said knowing they came into her garage was a wake-up call.

“We’re locking our cars, we’ve got an alarm in our cars now,” she said. “We’ve got a camera set up.”

Koch isn’t the only neighbor ramping up security. Connie Chesnick lives a few doors down and said in the 12 years the break-in she experienced last week was a first.

“We just never had to worry about that and in fact we probably were not as cautious as we should have been in terms of locking doors and keeping garage doors shut,” she said.

Once again, her car never made it out of the garage, but she too had all the contents of her glove box strewn out on her front seat.

“It’s an invasion of privacy to know that while you were sleeping that someone was in your garage,” Chesnick said.

Like Koch, she’s considering installing cameras and more motion-sensored lights, but she said that doesn’t seem to deter the would-be thieves. Neighbors with cameras and lights are experiencing break-ins just the same.

“It just doesn’t seem to stop,” Chesnick said.

They said their only solution is to make sure they’re not easy targets.

“We’re certainly a lot more aware now,” Chesnick said.

According to police most of the 36 cars that were stolen across Madison in May have been returned. Twenty-five of those cars had keys left in them or were unlocked and running at the time they were stolen.

Madison police said car break-ins and thefts from cars are slightly down from last year but most of those cases too involve unlocked vehicles.