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Ex-con steals cars, chased by cops
Arnold Hedtke
MONROE - A man out on parole was eventually arrested and jailed Tuesday after he reportedly stole two cars in less than 12 hours, including one in Monroe, and led police on a multi-county chase at high speeds.

Arnold R. Hedtke, 28, is from the Weyauwega area in Waupaca County but has spent most of his adult life in the state prison system.

As of Monday, he was on supervised release as part of a 10-year sentence out of Waupaca County for felony convictions of burglary and taking and driving a vehicle without consent, as well as related charges of child abuse, strangulation and suffocation, battery and resisting or obstructing an officer.

He's back in custody now after stealing a car in Weyauwega and another in Monroe and evading police in several counties, including a high-speed chase that terminated in Monroe at about 3 a.m. Tuesday, according to law enforcement.

"He initially stole a vehicle here in Weyauwega on Monday evening," said Brandon Leschke, patrol sergeant with the Weyauwega Police Department.

Later that night, in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Leschke said his department was notified that officers in Dane County had spotted the stolen vehicle, an early 2000s Chevrolet, and were pursuing it.

Hedtke led officers southbound from Dane County into Green County on a high-speed chase, said Monroe Chief of Police Fred Kelley.

As the pursuit neared Monroe, police put out stop sticks on 18th Avenue by the Wisconsin 11/18 overpass on the north edge of the city. The stop sticks possibly damaged one of the tires, but the car got away and officers eventually "lost it in the neighborhoods" nearby, Kelley said.

The stolen car was found abandoned in the 2300 block of 27th Avenue at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A second car, a 2012 Ford Fiesta with the keys inside, was reported stolen from the 2000 block of Roosevelt Road around the same time, Kelley said.

From there, Hedtke reportedly headed north in the stolen Ford toward Wisconsin Dells.

"Once he got to the Dells area, he was found looking through another individual's car trying to obtain a cellphone," Leschke said. Police responded, and Hedtke led officers on a foot chase before being arrested.

By this point, Leschke had contacted Hedtke's parole officer to request an apprehension warrant.

"Once (Wisconsin Dells police) got hands on him, they found out about the apprehension request," Leschke said.

As of Wednesday, Hedtke was being held at the Columbia County Jail. Leschke said he anticipates the Department of Corrections will arrange for Hedtke to be transported from there to the Waupaca County Jail.

"He'll probably end up going back to prison" for violating his parole, Leschke said.

Hedtke also faces tentative charges in at least three counties for fleeing police, car theft and other offenses, but as of Wednesday, he had not yet been formally charged.

Kelley was unsure of how the multiple law enforcement agencies and district attorneys will handle charging Hedtke.

"Whether we charge this Hedtke is yet to be determined," he said.