Man's car stolen as he asks for directions at gas station

Police say man left unattended car running

Published On: Nov 26 2012 02:54:22 PM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Madison police said they were able to recover a man's car and make an arrest after the car was stolen while the owner was asking for directions at a gas station.

The incident happened last Wednesday at about 5 p.m. at the PDQ at 6702 Raymond Rd.

A 66-year-old Beloit man had to come to Madison for an appointment at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and he decided to stop for a beer at a local tavern.

He was interested in checking out the bar at Bennett's Meadowood Country Club and, not familiar with the area, he stopped at the PDQ to ask for directions, according to a Madison Police Department incident report.

He figured it would only take a few seconds to poke his head in the door, and decided to leave his 1997 Cadillac DeVille running, police said.

But he lost sight of his car for a couple of minutes as the clerk thought it easiest to show the out-of-town visitor a map, which is located near the bathrooms, according to the incident report.

The man learned he was not far from Bennett's, and as he headed back to where he had parked his car, he didn't see it and realized it had been stolen.

The victim provided police with a description of his car and said that inside there was an electric garage heater and a six-pack of beer in a small cooler, items he had just purchased on his road trip to Madison.

A police officer at the PDQ put out an attempt to locate, and fairly quickly another officer found the dark green DeVille parked on Greenway View, just off of Todd Drive.

Police said the car was unoccupied, but the officer could see someone walking toward it. The officer concealed himself from view and watched as the suspected thief used the Beloit man's keys to enter the car, police said.

Madison police said they arrested Steven R. Woodson, 38, of Fitchburg, on a charge of operating a motor vehicle without the owner's consent.

Police gave the victim a ride in a squad car to Greenway View to reunite him with his car about 40 minutes after it was reported stolen, according to the incident report.

The Beloit man said almost everything appeared to be in order in his car, except now there were only two cold beers in his six-pack.