Here's how the case was unraveled, according to CBS affiliate WISC-TV.
The corrections cop got to Madison in the pre-dawn hours Monday for training, and parked his car - but with the keys still in the ignition - just outside a hotel, according to a police news release. When the officer went into the hotel, he heard the car starting up, and then saw it leaving the lot, officials said.
He didn't see who stole it, but hotel surveillance cameras did lead him to a partially-consumed cinnamon roll in the parking lot. Plus, the officer could see the man on the surveillance footage eating the aforementioned cinnamon roll before he got into the car and drove away.
Next, according to police, the corrections officer went to a nearby restaurant, whereupon he asked if there had been any recent purchases of cinnamon rolls. The employee said yes, indeed there was, and that the man had paid with cash - so they couldn't track him down via a credit card. The employee also told the officer that the man who bought the all-important cinnamon roll had been dropped off at the restaurant in a Sun Prairie Police Dept. squad car.
The plot thickens.
According to the police statement, the cinnamon roll purchaser was accompanied by a friend who had been arrested for driving under the influence, and so they had both been dropped off at the eatery by a Sun Prairie police officer.
So now...Madison police were given the name of the purported car thief who purchased the pastry by the Sun Prairie cops. Knowing the name, they then they tracked down the suspect at a local address.
At first, WISC reports, the 26-year-old man denied having contact with Sun Prairie police...denied being at the restaurant... and denied being at the hotel where the car was stolen.
That's when officers informed the man they had visual evidence, and arrested him on tentative charges of operating a motor vehicle without consent. Police said they found the correction officer's stolen vehicle parked near the residence, and found his uniform, cellphone and other personal items inside the dwelling.
After he was arrested, police say the cinnamon roll-purchasing, police-car stealing man told them that he "just had a really bad night."
Hey, at least he didn't have to write this story.