June 18, 2019 10:56 PM
Families in three more communities are the latest victims of home invasions committed by a crew of burglars.
On Tuesday, Sgt. Rick Denneson with West Hennepin Public Safety said the suspects' ways of operations and descriptions are similar to those wanted for nearly 60 break-ins in 30 towns since mid-May.
"It's all over the metro area, it's a huge geographical area and it's been hard to get in front of," Sgt. Denneson said.
Over the past weekend, burglars targeted places in Golden Valley, Minnetrista and Roseville. At one location, two vehicles were stolen and used as getaway cars.
Law enforcement agencies throughout Hennepin and Wright Counties believe two dozen teens, who work in small groups, are connected to a dangerous and volatile gang in Minneapolis.
In the town of Independence, an officer drove around Tuesday afternoon, looking to encounter families where they live before would-be crooks get the chance.
"I am here to remind you to lock up at night," he told residents.
The officer handed resident Bob Coons a flyer with information about the burglary ring and included crime prevention strategies. When asked what he was doing differently to protect his home and family Coon replied, "I've been more cautious to make sure garage door openers come into the house if I'm parked in the driveway."
Crime analysts report the break-ins typically happen between midnight and 4 a.m., while people are asleep.
"Law enforcement is concerned there will be a confrontation with a homeowner or something tragic will happen to either the suspects or the homeowner. These burglars go into occupied dwellings and residents need to be on heightened alert," said Sgt. Denneson.
The two-month long investigation has intensified and expanded. Evidence and a search warrant led investigators to a home on Aldrich Avenue North in Minneapolis recently. The court document indicated the family who lives there has known ties to a street gang that is also suspected of being involved in recent shootings.
When asked about her family's suspected involvement, a resident said, "police are trying to claim our house as a cover up house, where they drop off stuff, but it's not our family, it's associates."
Sgt. Denneson said some of the belongings reported stolen from homes in Otsego among other places have been recovered. Things like credit cards, passports, cell phones and computers. Surveillance videos from neighborhoods along with businesses have helped to identify and locate stolen vehicles along with several more suspects. Police said they've arrested mainly juveniles so far and because of their age, along with the fact the law considers property crimes to be non-violent, the teens tend to be released fairly quickly.
Sgt. Denneson says crime fighters in 30 communities stay in contact with each other by email and have meetings to share information to work collaboratively to combat the crime ring.
Updated: June 18, 2019 10:56 PM
Created: June 18, 2019 10:32 PM
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