In the dark of Friday night, someone quietly slipped into a yard on the 4900 block of Stevens Avenue South. Unseen, they discovered the side door of the house's garage had been left unlocked. They easily made their way inside then, according to a police report of the incident, they easily made off with a $2,000 bicycle with striking black-and-white Holstein-paterend handlebar tape, and disappeared into the night.
With any luck, the numbers of burglaries like that—reported to the Minneapolis Police Department on Sunday—will start to drop across Southwest Minneapolis. On Monday evening, the department announced the arrests of three men over the last week who had been suspects in this summer's rash of garage burglaries in the Fifth Precinct.
According to the announcement, sent from a city email address commonly used for minor announcements but left unsigned, 38 garages have been raided in the precinct this summer. In many of those cases, the announcement said, the burglar or burglars made off with high-end bicycles worth thousands of dollars.
Even worse, the announcement said, many of the burglary victims hadn't recorded the serial numbers on their bike frames, making it hard to trace the missing goods via a national database of stolen property.
According to police, one of the three men was arrested on Monday after he turned himself in to police for a July 18 garage burglary on the 2400 block of Aldrich Avenue South. The second man was arrested by Bloomington police officers when he tried to sell a stolen bike back to its owner, a Kenwood resident who had recorded the bike's serial number. The last man was recently arrested by Minneapolis officers for stealing over $600 in quarters from the laundry room of an Uptown apartment building.
None of the men have yet been charged.
"Our Fifth Precinct investigators are certainly checking to see if these suspects are connected to other burglaries in the area. At this time, many of these cases are still under investigation," police spokesperson Sgt. Stephen McCarty told Patch in an email. "As far as 'burglary and fencing rings' go, this is also something that investigators are looking at also."
"I think the bigger picture here is prevention," McCarty added. "Adequate locks, lighting and security systems should be stressed. Also tell your readers to call 911 if they see suspicious people or vehicles in the area."
McCarty said Fifth Precinct commander Inspector Matt Clark has detailed additional personnel to patrol the area at night in marked and unmarked cars.
Police offer the following tips for residents to prevent garage burglaries:
- Always lock your overhead and service doors even if you are only working in the yard
- Consider upgrading the lock on the service door to a deadbolt.
- Never leave your garage door opener in your vehicle. It is a key for entry.
- Always record serial numbers of bicycles, electronics or anything else that may have them. If you are unable to locate the number at the time of report, you can call Property Crimes at 612-673-5715 to report it at a later time.
- Call 911 to report all suspicious activity. If possible, try to safely obtain license numbers and descriptions.