Clintonville carjacking suspect flees into woods after chase in Northwestern Wisconsin

Seth Genereau
Seth Genereau(Clintonville Police)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 11:01 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BAYFIELD COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A suspect in a carjacking in Clintonville fled into some woods in Northwestern Wisconsin after stealing another vehicle.

Seth Genereau remains on the loose. Officials warn he may be looking to steal another vehicle and for shelter.

On Sept. 22, the Iron County Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle stolen in the carjacking in Clintonville and attempted to stop the driver, who took off at high rates of speed on US Highway 2. The driver turned north on State Highway 13 into Bayfield County. The vehicle hit another vehicle and continued on.

Bayfield County deputies tracked the car to a driveway on Friendly Valley Road. The suspect, Seth Genereau, ditched it there and stole another car, officials say.

About 100 yards away, the stolen vehicle got stuck and Genereau ran into the woods. He has not been located.

“The suspect is likely attempting to find another vehicle to steal in order to get away or an outbuilding to stay warm,” reads a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. “The Sheriff’s Office is asking all area residents including those in the Washburn area to keep their cars and homes locked.”

Genereau was identified as a suspect in Tuesday’s carjacking at a gas station in Clintonville. A felony arrest warrant is issued for Genereau, who police say arrived at the Clintonville gas station in a different stolen car.

Clintonville police say Genereau stole a 1965 red Ford from Hortonville. The criminal complaint says the car had a mechanical issue, and Genereau ended up at a Citgo gas station on Clintonville’s north side.

Gas station clerk Jeremy Merrigan said Genereau tried to break into his car, which was locked. Then he spotted a minivan, driven by an 81-year-old Michigan man, coming out of the car wash.

Merrigan described, “He came up to the gentleman, told him he was having some car trouble in the back, so the old guy got into the back of his car, and as soon as he did that the younger guy jumped into the driver’s seat to drive away. The old guy went to grab him, fell down in the process, scraped his elbow and the guy was gone.”

Genereau drove away in a black, 2020 Chrysler Pacifica with Michigan license plate DWF 1599.

The 81-year-old victim is from Michigan but has close ties to the area. He’s recovering from his injuries.

Police Chief Craig Freitag said, “81 or 18, this is something that does not happen typically in a small city. We’re not happy about it. But people need to be aware of their surroundings because it can happen. We’re fortunate enough this is a safe community and this doesn’t happen every day.”

Genereau, 23, is charged in Waupaca County court with two counts of Operating a Motor Vehicle Without Owner’s Consent, including one count with an enhanced penalty because the victim was an elderly person; Robbery with Use of Force, with an Elder Person Enhancer; Physical Abuse of an Elder Person; and Theft of Movable Property.

Police say Genereau is no stranger to law enforcement in Waupaca County as he’s being investigated for other crimes as well.

Anyone who thinks they’ve seen Genereau or has information that could lead to his arrest should call 911 or the Clintonville Police Department, (715) 823-3117.

Police say Genereau has a New London address.