On Wednesday, January 29, 2020, the UW-Madison Police Department responded to a strong-arm robbery that was reported to have occurred at the Lot 76 bus stop near the Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The alleged victim told police that an unknown suspect approached and struck him, then ran off with his wallet and cell phone. The victim provided UWPD with a very detailed suspect description.
UWPD immediately started investigating – deploying a K9 team for tracking, talking to people nearby, and scouring through video evidence. Because this crime met the threshold of a federally mandated community notification, a Crime Warning message was sent to the entire UW-Madison community to share information about the alleged incident. We understand the fear and unsafe feelings that these types of messages can cause.
Through our investigation, it became clear that the robbery did NOT occur, and the individual falsely reported the incident. Because the crime did not occur, there is no threat to the UW-Madison campus community.
On Thursday, January 30, 2019, Darren F. DeLaOssa, 57, Madison, was arrested and faces tentative charges of obstruction. He is not affiliated with UW-Madison.
UWPD takes all police reports very seriously. And when we have a serious crime reported on campus that could impact the safety of our community, we have an obligation – both legally and morally – to inform our community about the incident in a timely manner so they can take steps to protect themselves. In this case, we had no reason to believe, at the time, that the incident did not occur – so we alerted our community.
UWPD also takes great care deciding when to release suspect description information to our community. Often times, we only have a suspect’s race and approximate age. This is obviously not enough to positively identify someone, so suspect information is often left out of our Crime Warnings. However, when we have very detailed suspect information – like in this particular case – we share the information with our community.
To learn more about our campus Crime Warnings, and why they’re sent, click here.