Two arrested in connection with numerous Crawford, Clayton County burglaries

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Crawford County Lt. Investigator Ryan Fradette (left) and Prairie du Chien Police Department Detective Stacy Polodna are pictured with a room full of property apprehended from two Prairie du Chien men who face charges of burglary, criminal trespassing, criminal damage to property and theft in Crawford and Clayton Counties. (Photo by Correne Martin)

By Correne Martin

Numerous storage units, enclosed trailers and sheds were burglarized and an estimated value of over $10,000 in property was stolen over the past month in Crawford and Clayton Counties. Two Prairie du Chien men were arrested last week in connection with the crimes, according to local law enforcement officials.

Following a collaborative investigation involving the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Prairie du Chien Police Department, Mar-Mac Police Department and Monona Police Department, Roman Hertrampf, 23, and Joshua Schomacker, 33, are accused of the alleged burglaries in Prairie du Chien, Bridgeport, and Gays Mills in Wisconsin and the McGregor/Giard areas as well as Monona in Iowa. Both the men have confessed, Prairie du Chien Detective Stacy Polodna said.

Crawford County Lt. Investigator Ryan Fradette said that Hertrampf and Schomacker allegedly gained entry into these structures by cutting padlocks. Tools and equipment stolen included chainsaws, saws, drills, air compressors, toolboxes, hand and power tools, ladders, nail guns, shop-vacs, carpet cleaners, jacks, a trolling motor, fishing equipment, a phone, a radio, jewelry and multiple other items of value.

Polodna explained that his investigation initially began on Jan. 15 thanks to a tip via a Facebook post. “A mutual friend posted about a job trailer that was broken into in Iowa, so I contacted her for a description of the stolen items,” he said. Then, Polodna followed up on the lead and made contact with two suspects trying to sell the described items at a local resale shop.

When questioned, they were deceptive, Polodna said.

Next, the trailer owner helped identify the stolen tools, which had been engraved with his initials.

At that time, Polodna contacted Mar-Mac Police Chief Jason Bogdonovich, who helped obtain arrest warrants for Hertrampf and Schomacker for their activity in Clayton County.

“Within less than four hours of it being reported, we made the arrests. The [Iowa] police departments worked well with us,” Polodna said. “The cooperation right away is what helped us solve this so quickly.”

Before Hertrampf and Schomacker were extradited to Iowa on charges of burglary in the third degree, Polodna and Fradette each interviewed them, and they both confessed to the many burglaries in both Crawford and Clayton Counties.

Charges in Wisconsin are being sent to the district attorney’s office and include burglary, criminal trespassing, criminal damage to property and theft, Fradette said.

“Now, we’ve had a lot of cases involving numerous victims solved,” he added. All cases remain under investigation and efforts are ongoing to gather and return the stolen property to the rightful owners, which will be an extensive process.

Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick offered some advice to residents with storage units, enclosed trailers and sheds containing valuables, especially those in remote areas that hold easily resold property.

“We recommend people use high-security padlocks on their units (such as disc locks or puck-style locks),” he advised. “Write down serial numbers for valuables and engrave tools if you can. Give us something we can go on (in our investigation).”

“Cases get solved when agencies cooperate,” he added. “They all did a great job.”

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