Law enforcement agencies raise concerns about burglaries during COVID-19 closures

Brooklyn Park police are trying to track down a burglar that struck two churches and a school within an hour early Sunday morning.

Law enforcement agencies in the Twin Cities have sent out emails to residents and business owners to make sure their properties are secured during the uncertain times of COVID-19.

“People take advantage of others at their worst time," said Brooklyn Park Police Deputy Chief Mark Bruley.

COVID-19 concerns have left houses of worship and other businesses closed or with limited hours across the metro.

Bruley said those business owners that have closed need to make sure they are not “soft targets” for criminals by making sure their alarms are functioning properly and there’s lighting in place.

"As a whole nation we’re all challenged at this time, it’s disappointing that people chose to make these choices," Bruley said.

The security alarm tripped early Sunday morning at the Salvation Army’s Noble Worship and Service Center on Noble Parkway in Brooklyn Park after someone broke into the house of worship.

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“Police called and said ‘you had a break-in’ so I jumped out of bed," said Auxiliary Captain Josh Polanco. “It’s unfortunate that people believe that this is the only way that they are able to get ahead."

There was broken glass from a window inside the building but thankfully Polanco said nothing was stolen.

Polanco said they are busy helping those in need after COVID-19 closures and could have helped that burglar if he just asked.

A nearby charter school on Noble Parkway was also broken into, according to police.

Through the woods very close to the other locations, the Pine Grove Bible Church had money and a guitar stolen, as well.

Investigators released a security camera image of the man they say could be responsible for the three burglaries.

"Unfortunately, when we see patterns like this, they are probably not going to stop," Bruley said.

If you have information that can help police catch the suspect, you’re asked to call investigators at 763-493-8222.