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Police siren lights light bar squad car

Teenage car thieves were caught on surveillance video early Monday morning as they took a car on the Far East Side, the driver jumping out of a different stolen car taken earlier in the day.

A surge in car thefts over the Easter weekend in Madison prompted police to warn the public to take the keys out of their vehicles and lock them.

"Many of these crimes could be prevented if cars were left locked with no keys inside," said Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

At least 10 vehicles were taken around Dane County during the weekend into early Monday, with some vehicles stolen following home burglaries, the thieves getting keys from inside the homes.

"In the video clip, a thief exits one stolen car to steal another on Milky Way," DeSpain said. "A third car that pulled up was also one of those reported taken in the county."

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The car was located several hours later on Allied Drive.

"Detectives believe the same ring of young people who have made headlines stealing cars in the past are connected to the recent thefts," DeSpain said.

How brazen are the car thieves?

A man left his car unlocked and running on Regent Street Saturday, while he went into a fast food restaurant for a minute or two.

"He looked out to see someone driving away in his 2015 Toyotta Corolla," DeSpain said.

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