WCAN alerts have played a role in solving more than 60 criminal investigations and missing/endangered person cases.
On Monday, October 5th, 2015, Rice Lake Police Department Investigator Chad Thompson issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert Network alert to law enforcement and banks regarding an individual who went to numerous Rice Lake area banks that morning requesting cash advances of $2,800 on credit/debit cards. The cards were fraudulent and the transactions were denied. However, the suspect was able to obtain $2,800 from one area bank and a photo of the suspect was attached to the alert.
On Tuesday, October 6th, 2015, the same suspect entered a bank in Spooner and was recognized by employees as the suspect in the WCAN alert they received the day prior. Bank employees called police and the suspect, along with another individual, were arrested. A large number of fraudulent VISA debit cards were seized at the time of arrest. Rice Lake Police Investigators have since learned that the suspect is believed to have committed similar fraudulent transactions in other parts of the state.
On December 19th, 2013, the Seymour Police Department issued an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning an investigation which revealed a 15 year old female was receiving internet text messages and phone calls soliciting for modeling jobs.
In response to the WCAN alert, Seymour PD was contacted by Oshkosh Police Department who were also investigating the suspect. Additional agencies also investigating the suspect included the Neenah Police Department, Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department, Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, and Green Bay Police Department.
As a result of the collaborative investigation which included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, On January 22, 2015, the suspect was indicted by a federal grand jury on a four-count indictment including three counts of sexual exploitation of a child and a single count of possession of child pornography. The indictment alleges that suspect knowingly coerced underage females to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of that conduct, as well as knowingly possessing numerous images of child pornography.
On December 1st, 2014, the Richland Center Police Department sent out an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network about a theft which had occurred at a local Wal-Mart. Attached to the alert were photos of the suspect and an accomplice. Within 20-minutes of sending out the alert Richland Center PD was contacted by Prairie du Chien Police Department indentifying the suspect in the photo.
On August 4th, 2014, the Cudahy Police Department issued a WCAN alert for the theft of lottery tickets from a gas station. The suspect created a diversion for the store clerk, then reached behind the counter and took $300 in lottery tickets. Attached to the alert was a surveillance photo of the suspect. Within 30 minutes of issuing the alert Cudahy PD was contacted by Greenfield and Germantown Police Departments identifying the individual in the photo.
On June 19th, 2014, the Fort Atkinson Police Department issued a WCAN Alert regarding multiple burglaries. Within 5 minutes of sending out alert they were contacts by New Berlin PD identifying the suspect in the WCAN Alert photos. Fort Atkinson PD was also contacted by several other agencies concerning the same individual.
On April 8th, 2014, the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network regarding a suspicious incident at a new school construction site. In the late evening of 4-7-14 a pickup truck entered a gated area of a school construction site. Unknown to the driver of the truck, a construction manager was working at the site and observed the vehicle leaving and relayed a description of the truck to law enforcement.
The Town of Menasha Police Department received the Crime Alert and recognized the description of the vehicle from a case in February (2014) in which the truck’s owner was cited for stealing pallets. The Town of Menasha PD provided information about the truck’s owner to the Outagamie Sheriff’s Department who then interviewed the suspect. During the interview the suspect acknowledged stealing approximately $900 in welding cables from the school construction site, and returned the stolen items to investigators. Charges are pending including 1) Entry onto a locked construction site 2) Possession of burglary tools, and 3) Theft.
On January 14, 2014, the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department sent out a Wisconsin Crime Alert concerning a daytime burglary which occurred in the Town of Vandenbroek. On January 13th, a vehicle was driving through a subdivision and the passenger got out and knocked on a door. When the resident answered, the suspect asked “Does Jenny live here?” When the resident said no, the suspect said he must be at the wrong house. The resident suspected something funny, and looked out to get a vehicle description. She saw the vehicle continue down her street and she contacted another neighbor, telling him to watch these guys. Both neighbors then called 911 when they observed the suspects taking property out of a house down the street. Both witnesses described the make and model of the suspect vehicle and described a flame cut-out design on the vehicle grill. They also described the clothing worn by the suspects.
On January 14th, within minutes of sending out the WCAN alert Outagamie Sheriff’s Department was contacted by a Wisconsin State Patrol Sergeant stating the day prior he had contact with the vehicle matching the description in the alert. The trooper was on a traffic stop about 2 hours prior to the time of the burglary and a vehicle pulled up behind him that had just run out of gas. That vehicle matched the one described in the alert. The Trooper provided the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department with the ID of both individuals along with the vehicle plate number, and also described both suspects as dressed exactly the same as in the WCAN alert.
Within just a few minutes of sending out the original WCAN alert the Outagamie Sheriff’s Department had the vehicle and suspects identified. Both suspects are now in custody, the vehicle has been seized, and the individuals are also suspects in Waushara, Winnebago, and Waupaca Counties.
On January 2nd, 2014, the Rock County Sheriff’s Office issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert concerning 12 guns which seized from a vehicle that day occupied by 2 male subjects. Deputies were responding to a suspicious vehicle/run-off. Rock County wanted to determine if any other agencies were investigating a theft/burglary of these weapons.
On 1/3/14 the Milton Police Department took a report concerning a burglary which occurred a few days prior in which several guns were taken. Milton Police Department Detectives recalled the Rock County Sheriff’s Office WCAN alert received the day prior concerning the seizure of these weapons. As a result 2 subjects have been charged with burglary and theft, including one being charged with felon in possession of a weapon.
On October 9, 2013, the City of Marinette Police Department issued an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) concerning an individual who had stolen large, flat-screen televisions from a local retailer. The WCAN alert included photos of the suspect and vehicle. Within five minutes of issuing the alert, a Marinette County sheriff’s deputy reported that he recognized the suspect in the photo as well as the vehicle. The individual and vehicle in the alert were reported to have been involved in a gas station drive-off incident that he investigated. The deputy provided the name of the suspect to the Marinette Police who interviewed the suspect. Charges are pending against the man.
On September 20, 2013, the Rice Lake Police Department issued a Wisconsin Crime Alert regarding coin machine thefts at multiple laundromats. A photo of a suspect and photo of a vehicle (a gold Ford Explorer) were included with the alert.
On September 30, 2013, the Barron County Sheriff’s Department received a call about a suspicious white Ford Explorer in the Village of Turtle Lake. The occupants of the vehicle, two females, said that they had run out of gas. Afterward, a Barron County deputy driving through the City of Cumberland saw a gold Ford Explorer -- that matched the crime alert description and photo -- parked in front of a laundromat. When the deputy turned back, the vehicle was gone. The Barron County Sheriff’s Department then contacted Cumberland Police, who confirmed someone had broken into the coin machines at their local laundromat.
Barron County asked all officers to be on the lookout for a gold Ford Explorer, which later was located with the white Explorer. One male occupant was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant for “Possession of Burglary Tools” in Dane County. The gold Explorer was impounded and after a warrant was obtained, $700 in coins -- along with lock picking tools -- were found. Charges are pending while the investigation continues into whether the suspects are connected to similar incidents in Polk, Burnett, Washburn and Sawyer counties.
On March 11th, 2013, the Lodi Police Department issued a theft alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning an individual who was recorded on closed circuit television stealing $159 worth of specialty wire from a local hardware store. Photos of the suspect and vehicle were sent with the alert attempting identification. Within one hour the Lodi Police Department received calls from Madison Police Department, Middleton Police Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sauk Prairie Police Department all identifying the suspect in the photos. On 3/12/13, the suspect was interviewed by Lodi Police Department, confessed to the theft, and was charged.
If this sounds familiar it is because on 10/5/12 the Lodi Police Department issued a WCAN alert about a theft at the same hardware store (different suspect). That alert also resulted in indentifying the suspect within 1 hour of the alert, and obtaining a confession.
On November 20, 2012, the Sauk Prairie Police Department issued an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) concerning a skimming device that had been placed at a local ATM machine. The suspects placed the electronic device, designed to secretly record bank account data of customers who used the ATM, on the machine. The suspects also installed hidden "pin hole" video cameras, which secretly recorded customers' Personal Identification Numbers as the customers pressed numbers on ATM keypads.
With this personal information, the suspects then created “new bank cards” to withdraw funds from victim accounts using ATMs at other locations. Throughout the investigation, Sauk Prairie police issued updated Crime Alerts containing new photos and updated ATM locations used by the suspects to withdraw cash from victims’ accounts.
The crime alerts issued by Sauk Prairie police were disseminated to law enforcement agencies around the country. The U.S. Secret Service in New York received the alert, along with the photographs of the suspects, and indentified one of the suspects. This tied the incidents in Wisconsin to activity being investigated in New York.
Law enforcement agencies in Nevada and Illinois also contacted Sauk Prairie police after receiving the WCAN alerts. Investigators around the nation began using the photos from the Sauk Prairie crime alert to identify possible suspects.
On February 11, 2013, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced two of the suspects featured in the WCAN alert were indicted. Two of the counts in the indictment contain unauthorized cash withdrawals from bank accounts in Milwaukee. The transactions in Milwaukee were initially tied to the suspects in New York through the suspect photos contained in the WCAN alerts.
On January 22nd, 2013, eighty-two year-old Junior Fowble was following the ambulance that was taking his wife to the hospital in Newton, Iowa. He never arrived and was reported missing to Newton Police.
The next morning, after learning that Fowble was last seen on a Madison highway shortly after 8 am and out of gas, the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network (WCAN) issued a missing persons alert to law enforcement, businesses, the public and media. With temperatures expected to dip into single digits and Fowble’s known medical condition, the situation grew more urgent and another WCAN Alert was issued shortly after 1 pm.
At 1:16 pm, Fowble pulled into a Kwik Trip in Janesville and purchased $3 worth of gas. Shortly after Fowble left the store, personnel at the Kwik Trip read the WCAN Alert, recognized Fowble and called police. Kwik Trip, including all of its Wisconsin stores, is a member of the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network.
Later the same day, two more WCAN Alerts went out, and shortly before 7:30 pm, Fowble pulled into a gas station in Johnson Creek, Jefferson County, where he was recognized from local media coverage and law enforcement was called.
Newton Police Chief Jeff Hoebelheinrich wrote in a letter to Attorney General Van Hollen, “Had it not been for your Wisconsin Crime Alert Network, I dread thinking what would have happened to Mr. Fowble in the dead of winter as he drove without proper supplies and preparations.”
Please visit the following link to read the letter from Chief Hoebelheinrich, praising the use of the WCAN - View Letter Here
On January 3rd, 2013, at 10:44 am, the Menomonee Falls Police Department issued a Counterfeit Alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network. A suspect had been taken into custody for passing a counterfeit $100 bill at a local fast food restaurant. The suspect’s description included a gold front tooth.
On January 3, 2013, at 12:15, (90 minutes after the Menomonee Falls PD Alert) the Manitowoc Police Department issued a Counterfeit Alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning a suspect that had passed counterfeit $100 bills at several local fast food restaurants. Manitowoc Police Department was attempting to identify their suspect. The suspect was described as having a gold front tooth.
When Manitowoc Police Department reviewed the Menomonee Falls WCAN Alert they determined that individual in custody in Menomonee Falls was the same suspect wanted in the Manitowoc cases. The description in the alert of the suspect having a gold front tooth was very beneficial in linking these two crime alerts suspects. Charges are pending.
On December 12th, 2012, the Park Falls Police Department issued an “Endangered Missing Child/Adult Alert” through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning an 18 year old female who unexpectedly left her place of employment. It was believed that the 18 year old female may be at risk of harm and was traveling with a 19 year old male suspect. As a result of the WI Crime Alert, assistance came in from other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Through that assistance, later that day the female subject was safely located and the male suspect was in custody.
On November 27st, 2012, the Ashland Police Department sent out an alert through the Wisconsin Crime alert Network concerning a female who had entered a local hospital with a child and was trying to gain access to most office doors to see if they were locked or not. The child stayed in the hospital lobby. Once inside of offices she stole an Iphone, cash and 2 credit cards. The suspect then used the credit cards at local businesses as well as a business in Rice Lake. Attached to the alert were photographs of the suspect. Within 15 minutes of receiving the alert the Ashland Police Department received a call from the Rice Lake Police Department identifying the suspect. The suspect was then charged with 3 counts of burglary.
On November 7th, 2012, the Milton Police Department sent out an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning the use of stolen checks at two local businesses. A Rock County dispatcher received the alert and recognized that two other agencies, the Beloit Police Department and Janesville Police Department had investigated and arrested a suspect in similar cases. The investigating officer from Milton contacted the Beloit and Janesville Police Departments and learned the identity of the suspect. This suspect was then charged in the Milton case.
On October 11th, 2012, the Ashwaubenon Department of Public Safety sent out an alert through the Wisconsin Crime Alert Network concerning suspects who were picking up individuals off the street and paying them to cash counterfeit checks are various banks in the Green Bay metro area. Arrests had already been made of 2 suspects and they were being held in the Brown County Jail, along with 4 others that cashed the checks. The alert was sent out to determine if other agencies had similar cases. As a result of the alert multiple cases were connected including incidents in 12 Wisconsin cities and locations in Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. The losses in Illinois are over 10 million dollars.
On October 4th, 2012, the Lodi Police Department issued a WCAN alert for a retail theft that occurred on October 2, 2012, at a hardware store. A surveillance photo of the man, suspected of stealing almost $500 worth of merchandise, was attached to the alert. Within an hour of sending out the alert, Lodi Police received a call from the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department with information about the identity of the suspect in the photo. After receiving the tip from law enforcement, Lodi Police interviewed the identified suspect, recovered the stolen property and made an arrest. This was the first WCAN alert issued by the Lodi Police Department.
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