On Tuesday, March 3, 2015, the UW-Madison Police Department executed four search warrants related to a bike theft investigation which began in May 2014. Through police work and intelligence gathering, the search warrants executed spanned two counties – from a bike shop in Muscoda, to an apartment in the Town of Madison, a storage unit in the City of Madison, and to a farm in the Town of Windsor. The search warrants resulted in the discovery of more than 1,000 bikes – a total of 600 bikes, which could be identified with serial numbers, were confiscated from the properties.
UWPD investigators have been cross-checking serial numbers in stolen bike databases, however it’s believed that a majority of the bikes are stolen – either the owners of those bikes never reported the theft in the first place, or the bikes were reported stolen more than two years ago (the national database for stolen bikes only spans two years).
As a result of the investigation, possession of stolen property charges are pending against Duane J. Tessmer, 53, Town of Madison, and Michael J. Bingen, 57, Village of Muscoda. Official charges will be referred to the Dane County District Attorney’s Office once UWPD is able to identify exactly how many of the seized bikes are indeed stolen.
UWPD is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying those stolen bicycles. If your bike has been stolen in Dane County, and you have the serial number, CLICK HERE and fill out the online form. You MUST have your bike’s serial number. UWPD will notify you if we have your bike. UWPD will contact those individuals whose bikes are located.
UWPD estimates more than 16,000 bikes have been stolen in Dane County over the last ten years – less than half are actually reported to police. Of those reported stolen, only about 4,200 serial numbers were provided to law enforcement.