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Madison Police Investigate West Side Home Burglaries

Madison police said they are investigating three similar home burglaries that occurred Tuesday evening while residents were away.

Officers responded about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday to a burglar alarm going off in the 2700 block of McKenna Boulevard.

A rear window screen had been removed and a window opened. Police said it appears the would-be thief fled out a sliding glass door. Nothing was taken, and it's believed the alarm scared the intruder off, police said.

The second call came in at 8:24 p.m. A homeowner returned to his house in the 6900 block of Carnwood Road to find money, electronics and jewelry missing, police said.

As in the first case, it appears entry was gained by removing a screen and opening a window, and the burglar also fled out of a sliding glass door, police said.

Police said the third call came in at 8:48 p.m. A resident found her Chelsea Street home burglarized.

Police: Thieves Arrested After Accidentally Calling 911

Two retail theft suspects were arrested after one of them pocket dialed 911 from the getaway car, allowing police to locate the suspects as they were attempting to sell the stolen merchandise, Madison police said.

Police said the suspects, Jason S. Hamielec, 29, and Brian A. Johnson, 28, both of Madison, stole DVDs and computer games from the Target store on Junction Road on Madison's far West Side about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

While inside their getaway sport utility vehicle, the suspects talked about where they might get the best prices for stolen merchandise, and they decided on the Video X-Change at 3002 Atwood Ave., police said.

The suspects pulled into a parking lot near the Video X-Change and noticed a couple of Madison Police Department squad cars. They were then quickly surrounded by several Madison police officers, a couple with their guns drawn, according to a Madison Police Department news release.

Madison Fire Chief Bids Farewell

A fixture within Madison's Fire Department for the last 16 years is saying farewell this week.

Fire Chief Debra Amesqua announced her retirement in June and that day is finally here. Dozens gathered Tuesday night to say thank you and goodbye. As the state's first female fire chief, and only the seventh in the nation, Amesqua helped break down barriers in what was a male-dominated work place.

She said the department has changed a lot in her 16 years leading it.

"One of the things that keeps sticking in my mind are the amazing people that I've hired. That will certainly be my legacy," Chief Amesqua said. "I set out to create a caring and compassionate organization, and I looked at those two items in every person that I hired."

While the chief isn't officially done with her role until Jan. 3, with vacation time and the holidays, she is already finished with work.

She plans to make Tallahassee, Fla.. her new permanent home. It's where she's from and where her family is.

Madison Budget Saves From Lack Of Snow

Madison Budget Saves From Lack Of Snow

A snow-free December has helped Madison's budget after major storms earlier this year had city leaders concerned.

No major storms have hit Madison this season, unlike in recent years, when several inches of snow were already on the ground.

It's good news for the city, because the city budgets for five major storms per calendar year -- and four of those storms socked Madison in January and February, Mayor Paul Soglin said.

"There just isn't a lot of room left (in the budget)," Soglin said. "We've got enough money for one more storm, and that's it."

City planners dipped into the reserve fund to cover snow removal costs in 2009 and 2010, but the lack of December snow means fewer costs.

Two storms -- one that dumped 4 inches of snow and another 8 inches -- had fallen in Madison by this time a year ago. Big storms cost an average of $300,000 to clean up, said Chris Kelley, the city's streets operations manager.

Seven People Arrested Following Fight On Bus

Seven people were cited or arrested late Saturday night on Madison's southwest side after a fight between some teenagers on a bus resulted in others trying to get revenge.

The incident ended just after 9 p.m. in the 5800 block of Raymond Road.

According to police, the incident started as an argument between some teenage girls on a Madison Metro bus earlier in the evening. Police said one of the teens told an adult, Debra Griffin, 39, of Madison, she was "jumped."

Police said Griffin then got some others together to find the two girls allegedly responsible for the battery.

The group first went to a home in the 1800 block of Camden Road and confronted residents there, according to police. Police said they pushed their way in to the home, but didn't find the people they were looking for.

Police: 2 Arrested Following Suspected Drug Deal

A getaway car ran over a Madison police officer's foot as it fled from a gas station on the city's far West Side following a suspected drug deal Sunday night, Madison police said.

Madison police were called to the Speedway gas station at 4902 Verona Road about 8:30 p.m. Sunday after someone reported seeing a drug deal in progress.

Police said Curtis D. Mallory, 28, of Baraboo, was a passenger in a parked van. He was arrested on charges of possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia, police said.

After Mallory was handcuffed, another man who was wanted for questioning refused to stop for officers and got into a Lexus, police said.

Police said the officer who had handcuffed Mallory walked toward the Lexus, escorting Mallory with him, while yelling at the driver to stop. As this was happening, Mallory tripped and his head hit the side of the Lexus, police said.

Robber Hits Woman, Steals Jewelry On West Side

Madison police are looking for a man who allegedly hit and kicked a woman and then stole her jewelry.

Police said a woman was letting her dog out of her apartment in the 2200 block of Fish Hatchery Road on Sunday around 4:18 a.m. That's when a man dressed in dark clothes asked the woman for a cigarette, then hit her in the face, knocked her to the ground and kicked her. Police said he stole her jewelry and got away.

Police described the suspect as being about 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall with an average build. He had his face covered and was wearing a black jacket, baseball cap and blue jeans.