Madison police recover laptops discovered stolen Tuesday from community center

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UPDATE (WKOW) — A Madison community center will soon be reunited with 16 laptops, stolen early Tuesday morning.

Thursday, all there was, was a mostly empty cabinet.

Just two out of 18 laptops left at the Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center.

According to staff, they’re integral to the work they do there, especially at the Latino Academy of Workforce Development.

“I mean they’re used in ServSafe testing, GED and ESL classes for training,” Tom Solyst, the Executive Director of the center, said. “Our students use them to look for jobs and apply for jobs.”

According to the Madison Police Department they were stolen early Tuesday morning.

The burglar broke in through the window and made their way through the neighborhood center, breaking down doors, stealing some cash, keys and the laptops.

After gathering all the laptops from the center, they ran over to a house a few blocks away where they broke in, thinking that it was abandoned.

Little did they know that the homeowner would show up later Wednesday afternoon and immediately call police.

After police arrived, they found all of the laptops in boxes around the house.

The homeowner said that it looked like the thieves had posted up in one of their rooms trying to unlock the computers.

As of Thursday, police hadn’t been able to return the laptops.

While the laptops were only gone for a few days staff felt their community support them throughout the process.

“It’s reinforcing for the staff that they’re doing a great job,” Solyst said. “I think as a community we responded pretty well to what could have been a pretty discomforting circumstance.”

While the laptops were missing, staff says they were able to use some loaner laptops from other area nonprofits.

They said if they had had to replace everything, it would have cost them around $20,000.


MADISON (WKOW) — Police say they have recovered 16 laptops stolen Tuesday after a tenant arrived at his new apartment only to find it had been broken into and the computers were left inside.

The man was is in the process of moving into a Waunona Way apartment  when he discovered the sliding glass door to his unit shattered.

Officers cleared the apartment, found no one, but did discover a box containing laptop computers and a plastic tote containing many more, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.

It appears these are the same laptops that were discovered stolen Tuesday from the Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center. Police think the criminal likely decided to stash the loot in the victim’s apartment because it appeared to be unoccupied.

The Burglary Crimes Unit is investigating.

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