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Half-eaten cinnamon roll leads police to vehicle thief

Police: Man says he took vehicle because he ‘just had a really bad night'

MADISON, Wis. - A half-eaten cinnamon roll led a State Department of Corrections officer to the man who stole his vehicle early Monday morning, Madison police said.

A Wisconsin correctional officer got to Madison around 4:25 a.m. for training, and parked his car, with the keys still in the ignition, just outside of a hotel in the 4800 block of East Washington Avenue, according to a release.

When the officer went into the hotel, he heard his car starting up and saw it leaving the lot, officials said. The officer didn't see the person stealing his vehicle, but the hotel's surveillance cameras led him to a partially-consumed cinnamon roll in the parking lot.

The officer could see the man on the surveillance footage eating the cinnamon roll before he got into the car and drove away, according to the release.

The officer went to a nearby restaurant and asked if there had been any recent cinnamon roll purchases, police said. The employee said there was, and the man had paid with cash, so they wouldn't be able to track a credit card. The employee also told the officer the man who bought the cinnamon roll had been dropped off by a squad car from the Sun Prairie Police Department.

According to the release, the man was with a friend who was arrested for operating while under the influence, and got a ride from a Sun Prairie officer to the restaurant.

Madison police got the man's name from Sun Prairie police, and went to an associated address on Portland Parkway, police said. The man initially denied having contact with Sun Prairie police, denied being at the restaurant, and denied being at the hotel where the car was stolen.

Officers told the 26-year-old they had visual evidence, and arrested him on tentative charges of operating a motor vehicle without consent, according to the release. Officers found the correctional officer's stolen vehicle parked near the residence, and his uniform, cellphone and other personal items inside the residence.

The 26-year-old told police after he was arrested that he "just had a really bad night."

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