Organized crime group from Milwaukee could be to blame for recent spike in car thefts, high-speed pursuits

MEQUON -- Two high speed pursuits just this week and both involve stolen vehicles that went through Mequon. Several local departments are investigating a possible organized crime group, they believe out of Milwaukee, that are using the stolen vehicles to commit other crimes. Police warn that these crimes are often armed and dangerous.

A wide spread search after a stolen car crashes into a tree near County Line and Swan Road in Mequon.

"Subjects in the car were injured but they took off running," said Sergeant Bill Spankowski, Mequon Police Department.

One was arrested, the other still being sought by multiple agencies.

This is a result of a car chase that started in Menomonee Falls. The second chase in four days that made its way into Mequon. The first on Monday, July 6th -- starting in Germantown. That car was also stolen.

"Lately, we've seen just a number of stolen vehicles. It appears to be a crime group out of Milwaukee. They're hitting all of the suburbs, so it's not just Mequon," said Sergeant Spankowski.

And they're not just "passing through."

"They're using these vehicles in other crimes. Including burglaries which are also on the rise," said Spankowski.

"Cars are being stolen, houses are being broken into," said Officer Ray Borden, Germantown Police Department.

Mequon, Germantown, Menomonee Falls, are three communities which say they've noticed an uptick in crime.

"We have extra patrols on that are actively looking for the suspects," said Spankowski.

It's not just police that are taking action.

"We don't take anything into our own hands by any means but we become more aware of what's going on and then we call the police department," said Michelle Lilly, President of Neighborhood Watch Menomonee Falls.

The Menomonee Falls neighborhood watch group uses picnics to educate.

"All criminals need is that simple opportunity and that's why it's important to know who your neighbors are so they call in and say 'hey this person looks like of odd going door to door'," said Lilly.

That's especially true in this case as police believe the people responsible for these latest car thefts and burglaries are not from the areas they're infiltrating.

"It's more than a stolen car. They're using these cars for other crimes and the violence is a lot more than it has been in the past," said Spankowski.

Again, multiple agencies are working together on this. They say it's been a cohesive effort.