2 burglars, getaway driver charged in laundromat change heist, police say

Three people were arrested in connection with a theft of coins from laundry machines nearly three weeks ago in DeForest.

DeForest police said Monday that three people were charged in connection with a burglary March 7 at the DeForest Laundromat, 525 W. North St.

Charles Z. Knuteson, 26, of McFarland, and Christopher A. Cowan, 26, of Madison, have been charged with burglary, criminal damage to property and possession of burglary tools.

Stephanie M. Vidmar, 24, of Madison, was charged with party to the crime of burglary.

Police said officers responded the morning of March 7 to a report of change machines that were broken into and damaged. Hundreds of dollars worth of coins were stolen from the machines, and damage caused by break-in tools was estimated at several thousand dollars.

2 burglars, getaway driver charged in laundromat change heist, police say

Investigators used surveillance video from inside and outside the laundromat and witness information to develop leads, police said. Witnesses also wrote down a license plate number and provided a description of a suspicious vehicle seen in the area.

Police said a woman driving the vehicle dropped off the men and later picked them up. A crime alert was referenced where a suspect had been identified by McFarland police for numerous other burglaries throughout the area.

Police said Knuteson, Cowan and Vidmar confessed to the burglary during interviews with officers. Police said they told officers they needed money heroin habit.

Chief Robert Henze said the alert citizens helped with leads in the investigation.

“This case would have been much more difficult to solve without the help of our citizens who recognized suspicious activity and not only wrote down a detailed vehicle description, but a partial license plate,” Henze said in a statement.

Police said Cowan was out on bail for a burglary in McFarland at the time of the laundromat burglary.