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Car thefts continue to be a problem in Madison, with five stolen from three homes in different areas of the city in the past few days, police said. 

The thefts happened on Friday, Saturday and early Monday, with the first two occurring on the North Side and the most recent on the Far West Side, according to Madison Police. 

Incidents of stolen vehicles are up this year, according to July crime statistics released by Madison Police Chief Mike Koval in August. From January to July this year, 262 cars were stolen, a 12% increase from that same time frame in 2018. 

Auto thefts were also up 8% last month, with 41 reports in July compared to 38 in July 2018. Of the 41 cars stolen, 35 had the keys in the vehicle or easily accessible and one was left unlocked and running. Thirty-four of the vehicles had been recovered as of Aug. 7. 

The burglars in the three most recent incidents broke into residents' homes to steal the car keys.

Shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, a burglar entered a Far West Side home on Burnt Sienna Drive through an open garage door, police reported. 

The burglar stole wallets, electronics, car keys and other items from inside the house. Two cars that had been in the driveway are now missing, police said. 

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In another incident, officers responded to the 700 block of Northport Drive on the North Side around 9:15 a.m. Saturday. 

A 75-year-old man told police that someone had broken into his house through a garage side door and took his wallet, car keys and Honda CR-V, which had been in the garage.

The Honda was recovered by police on Northridge Terrace, but the man's wallet was not found. His credit card has been used to buy around $300 worth of merchandise, according to police.  

Also on the North Side, a couple contacted police Friday morning after cash and a purse with car keys in it were stolen from their house on Woodward Drive. The couple's Honda CR-V and Subaru Legacy were stolen from their driveway, police said. 

The couple thought a faulty latching mechanism on their garage door could have allowed the burglar to enter their home. 

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Emily Hamer is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She joined the paper in April 2019 and was formerly an investigative reporting intern at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.