Predicament for police: Officers "arresting car thieves at a record rate"



WAUWATOSA (WITI) -- Drivers in southeast Wisconsin beware. The rash of auto thefts and police pursuits is spreading rapidly.

"Eventually, these kids are gonna get caught one way or another. We just don't want anyone to get hurt," said Brown Deer Police Lieutenant Lisa Kumbier.

These are the results as auto theft and dangerous driving appear to be all the rage on area roads.

"It's not a Wauwatosa problem. It's not a Milwaukee problem. It's occurring all throughout the area," said Police Lieutenant Brian Zalewski

Thursday, auto theft and several other high speed chases are on the lips of local law enforcement just as they are on the streets of southeastern Wisconsin.

"They can happen in a matter of seconds," said Zalewski.

In Brown Deer, police are still searching for the driver of a stolen vehicle after calling off the case on 76th Street Wednesday, March 25th.

"We are arresting car thieves at a record rate," said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn.

Just hours later, Chief Flynn stood near 50th and Lloyd at a scene involving a stolen vehicle, fast driving, and a crash which killed a 16 and a 17 year old passenger in that suspect's car.

"I did another press conference just two months ago where an elderly couple was basically murdered by a car thief driving at a reckless rate of speed," said Flynn.

And in Wauwatosa...

"Try not to leave your vehicle running with the keys in it. From January through today, we had 9 reported motor vehicle thefts. This year, 2015 we've had 40 of them," said Zalewki.

Then there's the jump in the number of cases involving drivers trying to elude police. By March 26th of 2014, there were just two -- this year there are already 28.

"It's a nearly daily occurrence here in Wauwatosa," said Zalewski.

To protect yourself as a vehicle owner, Lieutenant Zalewski suggests you keep your doors locked and you don't keep your vehicle running. As a driver, he suggests you keep your head on a swivel and remain aware of your surroundings.