MADISON (WKOW) - A Madison auto dealer says six luxury cars were stolen from her lot Sunday after looters hurled a rock against dealership windows to gain access to keys.
Suzanne Sarhan says the dealership she owns with her husband, A to Z Auto Sports on Pflaum Road, had no break-ins until Sunday. She says the method used to break dealership glass was identical to tactics she saw Saturday on State Street, where people used the occasion of a protest to the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody to break into stores.
Sarhan says six vehicles worth over $200,000 were stolen, including a 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo.
The large rock used to shatter dealership windows was still in the car lot Monday after a visit from a Madison police investigator and as Sarhan feverishly worked to reach insurance agents and arrange for dealership repairs.
"I'm number 30 on the list," Sarhan tells 27 News, of her attempt to contract with a local glass company to make repairs.
More than 70 businesses in the State Street area were damaged Saturday and Sunday, as were two Target stores on either end of Dane County on Sunday, along with incidents at both East and West Towne malls.
Sarhan says keys to other vehicles on her lot were also stolen. With permanent repairs to the dealership not on the immediate horizon, Sarhan says she and others may need to sleep in shifts at the dealership to guard against further thefts.
Sarhan says several days of protests in Madison have also sapped the police department's ability to respond to the crimes at her business.
"Even the police officer who was here is so overworked," Sarhan says. "He was down on State Street."
"It's one thing to peacefully protest," Sarhan says, whose family has Middle East roots. "It's another thing to hurt businesses of color, businesses period, small business owners."
Sarhan says her auto dealership sales are down more than 50 percent since Governor Evers instituted a Safer At Home order in March to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The order was struck down by the State Supreme Court last month.
Sarhan is hopeful her insurance policy will cover the value of the stolen cars, but says the labor and time needed to make sure ignition locks are changed on dozens of vehicles will further drain the dealership.
"There could have been all of these cars stolens," Sarhan says as she gazes at the lot's inventory. "Everything could always be worse."
"I'm not happy with it," she says. "I'm not comfortable with it. But we'll figure it out."