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“Disturbing trend:” Vehicles stolen from Manheim Auto Auction — again, during ‘crash and grab’

CALEDONIA -- Thieves crashed through a fence at Manheim Auto Auction in Racine County early Sunday, May 14th and stole vehicles. This, after a similar incident just two months ago, and an incident which later involved a fatal crash a year ago.

It was shortly after 3:00 a.m. Sunday, May 14th when the Racine County Communications Center received notification there were three vehicles that had crashed through the fence at Manheim.

When Racine County deputies arrived, there were three vehicles located at the scene. It was later discovered that one of the vehicles had been stolen from the City of Milwaukee. Another had been stolen from the Manheim Auto Auction. The third vehicle was also out of Milwaukee.

Officials said it is unknown how many or what types of vehicles were stolen from the Manheim Auto Auction Sunday. One of the vehicles that is believed to have been stolen from the auction was recovered in Milwaukee County with heavy front-end damage.

Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling

"It's a disturbing trend. It seems to be getting more and more brazen and violent and reckless," Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said.

On March 1st, Schmaling said at least four vehicles were stolen from the lot, including a Cadillac SUV that had to be pulled from a swamp. This time around, deputies believe the thieves scaled the barbed wire fence to gain access to the vehicles.

Car stolen from Manheim Auto Auction in March

"It's a reckless behavior that I have not seen in my 22 years," Schmaling said.

A year ago, in May of 2016, two people died, including an eight-year-old boy after their vehicle was struck by a stolen car near 39th and Hadley in Milwaukee. Prosecutors later charged Devante Fells for stealing the vehicle involved in the wreck. They claim it was taken from the Manheim Auto Auction. Police said Fells had previously tried to steal vehicles from the lot.

Fatal crash at 39th and Hadley

Fatal crash at 39th and Hadley

Taeshawn Griffin and Danielle Triggs

Devante Fells

Manheim's general manager released this statement to FOX6 News:

"Manheim takes property theft very seriously and is committed to protecting the company's property and the safety of our clients, team members and guests. We maintain a zero tolerance policy for criminal acts such as this and will prosecute any involved parties to the fullest extent of the law."

He went on to say thankfully, no one at this location was injured during the theft.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.