Residents of west side neighborhood concerned over ‘prolific’ burglar’s sentence

Roderick Williams received a 90-day jail sentence
Residents of west side neighborhood concerned over ‘prolific’ burglar’s sentence
Roderick S. Williams, 23, no permanent address

Some residents of Madison’s Meadowood neighborhood, located on the city’s west side, are disappointed over the sentence given to a man police have characterized as a prolific burglar, a resident tells News 3.

Police have accused Roderick S. Williams, 23, of a number of burglaries on Madison’s west side, including an incident where officers said he was seen breaking into a garage in home surveillance camera footage back in June 2016.

Williams faced dozens of misdemeanor and felony charges related to burglary and selling stolen property.

Williams pleaded guilty to some of those charges and, as part of a plea bargain, received a sentence of 90 days in jail, minus time already served, plus five years of probation from Dane County Judge Ellen Berz Monday, according to court records. He will also be required to get his GED.

It’s a sentence Merle Bengsten, the co-liaison to the Madison Police Department for the Meadowood Neighborhood Association, said he does not favor.

“We really were concerned that the plea bargain that was announced was very lenient,” Bengsten said.

Bengsten said neighbors worry about Williams striking again because of his past history

“He’ll be out on the street again,” Bengsten said. “(There’s) no reason to believe that he’s changed.”

Bengsten said he wrote Berz a letter before Williams’ sentencing pleading for a heavier penalty, citing past burglary cases in the city of Madison. He said some neighbors were afraid to testify at Williams’ sentencing for fear of retaliation.

“I think the entire (MPD) West District is less safe because of him,” Bengsten said.

News 3 reached out to Berz’s office for comment Thursday.

“The code of judicial conduct restricts a judge from commenting while a case is pending or impending in any court,” District Court Administrator Theresa Owens said in response to the request.