RACINE -- Four cars were stolen from the Manheim Auto Auction in Racine early Wednesday morning, March 1st. The thieves went to great lengths to get the vehicles -- even though two crashed shortly after.
Officials believe this incident could be related to numerous other thefts from car dealerships recently in Wisconsin and Illinois.
According to police, shortly before 2:00 a.m., the Racine County Communications Center received a call for an alarm at the Manheim Auto Auction located on 27th Street in Caledonia.
As deputies responded, they were notified of an accident near West Frontage Road and 7 Mile Road. The vehicle was a Jaguar -- and a person walking away from the scene.
Not long after, a Cadillac crashed nearby. It was pulled out of a swamp at West Frontage Road and 8 Mile Road.
"Which might indicate their age or lack of experience behind the wheel. Although we did have some wet conditions throughout the area that might have contributed to that," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.
Still missing are two other stolen cars -- a silver SRX and a white Ford Taurus. Schmaling said they believe it wasn't an easy heist. The thieves scaled the fence, went over barbed wire, then drove out a closed gate with the cars.
Before the Jaguar was driven out, an off-duty deputy working security tried to block it with a security car. The Jaguar smashed into the deputy's vehicle and continued on its wild ride.
"It's a disturbing trend. It seems to me it's getting more and more brazen, more violent, more reckless," said Schmaling.
Schmaling said a few days ago, five vehicles were stolen from a dealership in Illinois, and they came through Racine County at a high rate of speed without headlights. One caused injury to an innocent driver.
"We are working very closely with law enforcement agencies within our state but also Illinois, and we're trying to see if there are connections there as well. It seems like an awfully big coincidence that different places are getting hit," said Schmaling. "It's a reckless behavior I haven't seen in my 22 years."
Schmaling said many of the stolen vehicles not only end up in crashes, they are used in other crimes.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.