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UPDATED: Two vehicles stolen from dealership
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MONROE - Monroe police are looking for professional thieves whom they suspect stole two vehicles from Charles Dearth GMC dealership on 8th Street in Monroe late Saturday or early Sunday.

Police Chief Fred Kelley confirmed Tuesday afternoon that a Dodge dealership in Watertown also had two vehicles stolen over the weekend.

The two incidences "seem to be tied together," Kelley said.

Bryan Rach, general manager at Charles Dearth, said it is unlikely the vehicles will be recovered.

"They've probably been reduced to parts," he said. "If they stole them Saturday night, they could by 3 a.m. Sunday have them stripped down."

"It's an area thing now," Rach said, after learning about the thefts in Watertown.

Kelley said he knows of no other dealerships in Green County with similar thefts.

The vehicles stolen in Monroe are a 2010 black GMC Sierra Denali pickup truck valued at $48,000 and a 2010 silver Buick Lucerne valued at $34,000.

Kelley said his department is checking leads and conferring with other regional law enforcement departments that may have investigated similar thefts, and with the vehicle theft task forces in a two-state area.

"Experience tells us that when two vehicles are taken from a dealership, it's unlikely it's local, but more on the professional side," he said.

If one vehicle had been taken, Kelley said police would be looking around town for it.

Police were told the keys to the vehicles were in a lock box that attaches to the vehicle's window.

Kelley said such strong boxes are made of steel, about one-quarter inch thick.

Hot wiring to start a car can be done, Kelley said, if you know what you're doing. However, Kelley said police are going on the suspicion that the thieves gained access to the keys from the lock boxes.

The vehicles were reported stolen at about 7:45 a.m. Monday.

Kelley said the public should expect an increase in crimes during a stagnant economy.

"People get more desperate and are looking for money in other ways. It brings out the ones looking for it the easy way, instead of working for it," he said.

Monroe Police are seeking assistance from the public in investigating the thefts.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at (608) 329-2400, or Green County Crimestoppers, at 1-800-IC-CRIME (1-800-422-7462). Callers may be eligible for a cash reward and can remain anonymous.