Complaint: Two arrested in connection with Sun Prairie Target looting, vehicle chase

courtesy Jake Taylor

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — Two people were arrested Sunday night following a high-speed chase that broke out after the defendants reportedly looted a Sun Prairie Target as violence simultaneously broke out in downtown Madison.

Sunday at around 10:43 p.m., Sun Prairie dispatch told all available police units to respond to the Sun Prairie Target at 660 S. Grand Ave. due to a report that 15 to 20 cars were in the parking lot and people had broken into the store, according to a criminal complaint.

As one officer approached the front doors to the store, multiple vehicles drove off. According to the complaint, as the responding officer approached the store, he saw multiple people exiting through smashed doors with merchandise.

The officer reportedly tried ordering the thieves to stop, but nearly all of them ran off to vehicles parked in the area.

As more officers arrived at the scene, one police officer reported that his squad car had been struck by a vehicle. The officer reported his car was hit by a General Motors vehicle.

One officer who was arriving at roughly the same time spotted a silver Chevrolet Malibu in the area. The officer noticed the vehicle didn’t have any license plates attached so he let the vehicle pass before turning around to pursue the vehicle at approximately 10:49 p.m.

The criminal complaint does not make it clear whether or not the silver Chevrolet Malibu was the vehicle that hit the officer’s squad car.

As the pursuit continued, officers learned that 40-year-old Casimer D. Tipton was operating the vehicle and 32-year-old Lavette L. Brown was a passenger. Police continued to pursue the vehicle westbound on Hoepker Road. At the intersection of Hoepker Road and Prairie Lakes Drive, Tipton ran a red light. Tipton continued traveling westbound while swerving between the right and left lanes of the roadway. Tipton reportedly went on to blow through several stop signs.

Around 10:52 p.m., Tipton turned onto Highway 51 where the pursuit continued.

Police deployed stop sticks that brought the vehicle to a stop near the intersection of Highway 51 and Metro Drive. Police conducted a “high-risk” traffic stop and approached the subjects with their guns drawn.

During the stop, police reported smelling the odor of marijuana. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed stolen merchandise in the car, including a “Frozen 2” coding kit with a security device still attached.

Brown told police that earlier that night she, Tipton and an unnamed individual had met up at a gas station on Darbo Drive. While there, several people said they wanted to steal from the Sun Prairie Target. Brown told police that when she and Tipton arrived at the store she saw multiple people smashing the store’s windows and doors with clubs and bats.

Brown told an officer she sat in the vehicle as Tipton went in to steal from the store.

In a separate statement, Tipton told officers he and the others in his vehicle went to the Target to buy marijuana. Police told Tipton they had learned that he went into the Target, but he continued to deny it. He reportedly told officers that he refused to pull over during the vehicle chase because he was scared about what would happen due to the fact he had marijuana in his car.

According to the complaint, Tipton and Brown have both been charged with burglary of a building or dwelling as party to a crime. Tipton has also been charged with attempting to flee or elude an officer.

If convicted on the burglary charges, both Tipton and Brown could face up to 12.5 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. Tipton could face three-and-a-half years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for the fleeing an officer charge.

Police said roughly 20 to 40 people broke into the store during the incident.