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Neighbors consider armed patrols after string of burglaries

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OREGON (WKOW) — People in one Dane County community are considering drastic steps after a rash of home burglaries.

Between last Friday and Wednesday morning, there were at least 13 calls — including 7 in Oregon and 3 in Madison — where thieves went into homes or unlocked cars, grabbed keys and took off with vehicles. In one case in Oregon, they also stole guns.

“We were not a victim, but close neighbors were victims,” said Rick Ritter, who lives in the gated Bergamont neighborhood. “When you think of the brashness of the burglars that are entering homes, not only locked with families in… We wanted to learn what we could do.”

The Ritters were among dozens of Bergamont residents who packed the clubhouse to talk with Police Chief Brian Uhl about how to regain control of their neighborhood.

“We’ve had crime throughout Oregon. We’ve had vehicle entries. But we’ve not had this concentrated of an area,” Chief Uhl said.

Bergamont is already a gated community, but some want to take security to the next level: establishing an armed overnight watch.

Chief Uhl isn’t quite so sure about the plans.

“I can’t stop them from going armed, as long as it’s open carry or if they have a concealed weapon permit,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Ritter isn’t so sure either.

“At night, if you are confronted with somebody, what are you going to do? Is someone going to be armed? I just don’t like the feel of all those things,” he said.

Meanwhile, the crime continues. Police say they’ll step up their patrols as residents clarify what they can and can’t do to confront crime.

“Hopefully, we’ll come to some kind of resolution to stop this,” Ritter said.

Oregon Police say the criminals are likely the same teens who’ve hit other communities, including Fitchburg, Waunakee and Madison. Departments are working together to put an end to the crime but say the juvenile justice system only goes so far.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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