Janesville59.7°

Stolen Packer tickets help cops clear thefts

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Mike DuPre'
December 13, 2007
— The Green Bay Packers deserve credit for many things this year—a stellar record, NFC North championship and a lot of happy Sundays across Wisconsin.

Now, the Pack—or at least tickets to Green Bay home games—can get indirect credit for clearing up many of the thefts from vehicles that plague Janesville residents.


Two men and a teenage boy, all from Beloit, have been arrested in connection with about a dozen vehicle break-ins. One of the first leads in the case came in August when Janesville police investigated what they suspected was drug activity in a van downtown.


The cops found two men inside and four tickets to a Packers game, according to a criminal complaint filed against one of the men, Fred S. Curtis, 35, of 1113 5th St., Beloit.


A few days before, a local man reported that someone had broken into his sport-utility vehicle when it was parked in downtown Janesville and stolen his briefcase, which contained his checkbook and 67 tickets to Packers games, valued at $7,000.


Then on Saturday, police received a report of a van with three men in it driving around the parking lot of Wildwood Theaters. Officers from the Janesville Street Crime Unit kept an eye on the men and reported seeing Nicholas A. Wrage, 21, of 737 Euclid Ave., Apt. B, Beloit, get out of the van, approach an SUV and jump back into the van, according to the complaint against Curtis.


The cops also saw that a window to the SUV was smashed. They alerted patrol officers who stopped the van and found Curtis, Wrage and a 15-year-old Beloit boy riding in it.


All three were arrested on outstanding warrants, and by the time the questioning was done, all three admitted breaking into and stealing from vehicles in Janesville, the criminal complaint alleges.


Police executed a search warrant on Curtis’ home, and officers found many items stolen from cars over the last four months, including some of the Packers tickets stolen in August, according to the complaint.


The criminal complaint charges Curtis with felony theft, felony receiving stolen property, entry into a locked vehicle and criminal damage in connection with the theft of the Packers tickets.


In addition, Janesville police arrested him on six charges of theft and 12 counts of party to theft, six charges of criminal damage and 12 of party to criminal damage and six charges of entry to a locked vehicle and 12 of party to entry to a locked vehicle.


Wrage was arrested on five charges of theft and 10 of party to theft, five charges of criminal damage and 10 of party to criminal damage and five charges of entry to a locked vehicle and 10 of party to entry of a locked vehicle.


The 15-year-old was referred to juvenile authorities on at least four charges of theft and seven of party to theft, five charges of criminal damage and six of party to criminal damage and four charges of entry to a locked vehicle and seven of party to entry to a locked vehicle.


Janesville and Beloit police continue to investigate the trio’s possible involvement in thefts from cars in both cities.


Don't leave valuables in car

The arrests of three suspects in about a dozen thefts from vehicles in Janesville reiterates once again that people should not leave valuables in their cars.


Among the items that one member of the trio is alleged to have stolen were 67 Green Bay Packers tickets valued at $7,000.


Thefts from vehicles are the No. 1 property crime in Janesville.


The crime is so common that the thieves have a name for it: car shopping.


In the criminal complaint against one suspect, a second suspect is reported to have told police that they would cruise parking lots looking for purses in cars and that Suspect No. 1 would watch for women who left their vehicles without purses in hand.


“There goes one now,” Suspect No. 1 said, and the trio broke into the vehicle and stole the woman’s purse.



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