Walmart theft led to low-speed police chase through Baraboo

February 28, 2019

Authorities say a Reedsburg woman led law enforcement on a low-speed chase after pushing two shopping carts full of items out of a Baraboo store without paying.

Sauk County prosecutors have charged 39-year-old Rebecca L. Maconaghy with felony retail theft, attempting to flee an officer and driving with a revoked license in relation to an incident Saturday at the Baraboo Walmart Supercenter.

A criminal complaint states that a female, later identified as Maconaghy, shopped for about two hours and filled two full carts’ worth of merchandise before a Walmart employee confronted her as she was leaving.

“(The employee) told me that when he confronted the female as she was leaving she claimed that she had paid for the items which he knew was not true as he observed her walk around the registers,” a Baraboo police officer who responded to the scene reported.

After the employee asked Maconaghy to step into his office, she allegedly ran out of the store and got into a black Chevy Cavalier.

Another officer reportedly spotted Maconaghy’s vehicle along South Boulevard and began chasing after her with his lights activated. He lost her after she turned at an intersection, but later spotted the vehicle again on Badger Drive.

After the officer caught up to her, Maconaghy allegedly pulled into a gas station at the intersection of South Boulevard and Parkway. However, the officer noticed that the vehicle’s brake lights remained lit after it stopped, so he suspected the driver was waiting for him to get out of his squad car so she could flee again.

The vehicle pulled out of the gas station, according to the complaint, and that’s when a Sauk County Sheriff’s Office deputy entered the chase. Despite being followed by two squad cars with emergency lights flashing, authorities allege, the vehicle did not pull over.

Officers lost the vehicle after it accelerated down streets in a residential area, but they later received a tip from a caller who identified himself as Maconaghy’s husband. He allegedly told officers Maconaghy texted him saying she had just run from the police and wanted to meet.

The complaint says authorities located and spoke with Maconaghy the next day. She allegedly told an officer she never intended to steal the items, which were valued at $2,664.

Maconaghy told authorities she knew the store employee would call the police, so she just decided to leave, according to the complaint. When asked what caused her to take the items, she allegedly replied, “I have a problem with taking things that don’t belong to me.”

According to the complaint, Maconaghy told the officer she fled police because she knew she “screwed up” and wasn’t ready to go to jail because she “needed to say goodbye” to her daughter.

Maconaghy was booked and released on a $1,000 signature bond. She has been ordered not to return to the Baraboo Walmart Supercenter and is due in court April 5.