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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wishes to thank law enforcement statewide for their use of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, or WCAN. Since it became operational, more than 3,400 alerts have gone out, helping law enforcement statewide solve more than four dozen crimes. Those crimes in which the WCAN has played a key role include homicide, sexual assaults, endangered missing persons, as well as cases of theft and robbery. Officers report cases solved within hours, or in some cases within minutes, of using the WCAN.
On January 14, 2014, the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert regarding a daytime burglary that occurred in the Town of Vandenbroek a day earlier. On January 13, 2014, a vehicle was driving through a neighborhood when the passenger got out and knocked on a door. When the resident answered, the suspect asked, “Does Jenny live here?” When the resident replied “no,” the suspect left, but the resident, suspicious of the individual’s behavior, got the vehicle’s description and alerted a neighbor to the vehicle in the subdivision. Both neighbors later called 911 when they observed the suspects taking property out of a house down the street. Both witnesses described the vehicle and the clothing worn by the suspects.
Within minutes of sending out the alert the day after the burglary, the Outagamie Sheriff’s Department was contacted by a Wisconsin State Patrol sergeant who stated that he had contact with the vehicle matching the description included in the alert. The State Patrol provided the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department with the identification of both individuals as well as the vehicle’s license plate number, and described both suspects as dressed exactly the same as described in the WCAN alert. Both individuals were taken into custody and are considered suspects in crimes in Waushara, Winnebago and Waupaca Counties as well.
“This case out of Outagamie County is an excellent example of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network at work. Neighbors were aware of something odd happening in their community and reported it. Law enforcement was proactive in sharing information, and thankfully, suspects were identified, thereby moving the investigation forward more quickly and possibly preventing further victimization. I’m tremendously proud of our law enforcement partners who are using this tool to improve public safety.”
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office issued a WCAN Alert on January 2, 2014, concerning 12 guns that were taken from a vehicle occupied by two men. Deputies were responding to a suspicious vehicle/run-off. Rock County investigators wanted to determine if any other agencies were investigating a theft/burglary of these weapons. One day later, the Milton Police Department took a report about a burglary a few days earlier during which several guns were taken. The two agencies shared information; two suspects were later arrested on charges of burglary and theft, with one suspect also facing a charge of felon in possession of a weapon.
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 below:
The WCAN also is hosting free crime prevention webinars for subscribers. The next scheduled training is Wednesday, February 26, 2014, from 2:00 - 2:30 pm. It is entitled IDENTITY THEFT SCAMS: Protecting Your Heart and Identity from Sweetheart Scams. To register, visit: http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/Learn.html
To minimize your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft, you must be aware of all of the ways in which criminals will try to gain access to your personal information. Shawn Diaz, Agency Liaison for the Office of Privacy Protection at the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), will discuss some common identity theft scams and, in particular, online dating scams, and he will share some tips on how to avoid putting yourself at risk. Visit http://www.wisconsincrimealert.gov/ for details.