Complaint: Man charged with driving stolen car in Sauk County claimed he was kidnapped

March 26, 2019

TOWN OF IRONTON — After he was caught driving a stolen SUV in Sauk County, authorities say a West Allis man claimed he woke up in the vehicle after being kidnapped.

However, investigators allege they later obtained surveillance video that showed 19-year-old Joshua J. Sabljak stole the vehicle from outside a Madison gas station. Prosecutors have charged him with operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and three counts of bail jumping, all felonies.

According to the criminal complaint, a town of Ironton resident called law enforcement shortly before 6 a.m. March 19 to report that he woke up to find a tan Chevrolet Suburban parked in his yard. He provided the vehicle’s license plate, and authorities quickly learned it had been reported as stolen.

On his way to the scene, a Sauk County Sheriff’s deputy allegedly spotted the vehicle driving the opposite direction. He and a Reedsburg police officer began following the SUV, pulled it over and detained the driver, who they later identified as Sabljak.

“Joshua told (the officer) that he was forced into the vehicle somewhere in Madison and the last thing he remembers was leaving Madison then waking up inside the vehicle at the (town of Ironton) address,” the deputy reported. “(The officer) informed me that Joshua had limited information as to the exact circumstances of what happened in the city of Madison and he did not remember much after he was kidnapped.”

The deputy later reached the SUV’s owner by phone, and she described the incident in which her vehicle was stolen, according to the complaint.

The woman said she was inside the gas station with her four children when a young man matching Sabljak’s description asked her for a ride somewhere. The woman told the deputy she was busy cleaning up hot chocolate that her son spilled when she noticed the young man walk outside.

The woman said she had left her vehicle unlocked and running, and when she walked outside, she noticed it was gone. Authorities allegedly obtained gas station surveillance video that showed Sabljak get in the vehicle and drive off.

Authorities have jailed Sabljak on a $500 cash bond and he is due to appear in court April 4.