Thursday, June 12, 2008 - 6:35am
Blue Net Burglary Task Force Update
Madison Police detectives, working in conjunction with the countywide Blue Net Burglary Task Force, have infiltrated and shutdown a "smash-and-grab" burglary ring that had been plaguing local businesses. The investigation revealed the roots of the crime spree began to take hold in November of 2007, and that the pattern burglaries effectively ended in early May of 2008 as suspects began to be identified and arrested.
Detectives learned that a Madison residence at 2620 Greenway View was being used as a crack cocaine smoke house. Drug dealers would bring crack to the home, where it was sold to addicts. Women would also perform sex acts with dealers in a bathroom of the residence in exchange for drugs. Detectives discovered that at some point the dealers told addicts they wanted large, flat screen, television sets, and that crack or money would be supplied to those who could procure these electronics. The rash of "smash-and-grab" burglaries to local businesses where big screen TV's were stolen - erupted.
Some businesses hit include:
• Grand Appliance, 6220 Nesbitt Road, Fitchburg
• Brother's Main, 7968 Tree Lane, Madison
• American TV, 5215 High Crossing Blvd., Madison
• American TV 2404 West Beltline Highway, Town of Madison
• Tony Frank's, 1612 Seminole Highway, Madison
• Wiggy's Bar, 1901 Aberg Avenue, Madison
The Wiggy's burglary occurred on April 30, 2008. Surveillance cameras were able to capture images of the suspects, as well as their getaway van.
The van matched that of one located by a Madison Police Officer on April 17, 2008. The officer was doing pro-active burglary patrol work and pulled the van over for a traffic violation shortly after 2:00 in the morning. The officer was able to identify the occupant, and noted that there was a crowbar and a large rock inside the vehicle. While there was not probable cause to make burglary arrest the officer did pass valuable information to the Blue Net Task Force.
This traffic stop, as well as intelligence gathered by Middleton Police, Dane County Sheriff's Deputies, The Dane County Drug & Gang Task Force, and Madison Area Crime Stoppers led to a search warrant being executed at the 2620 Green Way View address on May 8, 2008. The drug house was a shambles, and the Health Department, and Building Inspection were immediately notified of the mess. Seized in the raid was a hat detectives believe was worn by one of the suspects in the Wiggy's robbery. Two people were arrested on probation and parole holds at the time of the search warrant's execution.
In the next couple of weeks Blue Net Task Force shareholders continued to work collaboratively, and with additional tips to Crime Stoppers, were able to execute several more search warrants where some of the stolen big screen TVs were recovered.
Several have been arrested thus far in connection with this investigation:
• Gregg Pierce was taken into custody on a Probation Violation.
• Silvan Fleming is in custody for a Parole Violation.
• Richard D. Johnson is in custody on a Probation Violation.
• Derrick Richards was arrested on a Madison burglary charge, while out on bail for two others committed in Middleton.
• Anthony Irby was arrested for burglary.
Detectives are currently in the process of obtaining warrants for the arrests of two more burglary suspects.
The Blue Net Task Force has also identified three individuals who were receiving stolen property. They have not been arrested, but will be ordered into court via a summons. Task Force members have - thus far - referred 16 burglary charges against six suspects. Staff at the Dane County District Attorney's Office will review these recommendations.
In addition to the big screen TV thefts, DNA from suspect Derrick Richards was found at two Monroe Street crime scenes following a rash of "smash-and-grab" burglaries that occurred on February 14, 2008. The businesses hit that night included:
• Twigs, 1925 Monroe Street
• A Stone's Throw, 1925 Monroe Street
• Victor Allen's, 2623 Monroe Street
• Greater Gift, 2701 Monroe Street
• Vita Source, 2623 Monroe Street
A short time (less than 1 hour) after these break-ins Shorewood Hills experienced a flurry of similar crimes as door windows to three businesses were smashed. The addresses hit were:
• Dairy Queen, 2854 University Avenue
• Sa-Bai Thong, 2840 University Avenue
• Elite Nutrition, 2848 University Avenue
Prior to the Valentine's Day "smash-and-grabs" Monroe Street businesses were attacked on January 8, 2008 when there were three burglaries in the 1800 block, and four more at Knickerbocker Place, which is in the 2600 block. On January 21, 2008 there were two similar crimes at Knickerbocker Place, and seven Knickerbocker Place businesses were burglarized on February 4, 2008.
Since the May 8th raid on the suspected drug house at 2620 Greenway View the "smash-and-grab" crime spree has come to an abrupt halt.Contacts:
- Joel DeSpain, 608-266-4897
- Lt. Mark Brown, 608-266-4945