Reward offered to catch thieves targeting fish houses on lakes in multiple Minnesota counties

January 21, 2019 10:23 PM

If finally looks and feels like winter in Minnesota.

As ice anglers head out to their shacks, some have discovered theirs have been broken into, including Carol VanderWeyst's.


"When they come and vandalize that, they are stealing the joy out of it and it sort of rips this out by the strings of your heart," she said.

VanderWeyst has enjoyed ice fishing her entire life. She recently bought a brand new fish house and was excited to open it up on Blackwell Lake in Douglas County. But someone beat her to it. 

"It's just not right," VanderWeyst said.

On Christmas Day, an intruder busted the lock, damaged the door and made off with her high-dollar fishing gear. VanderWeyst is focused on catching fish and the crook; that is why she started a reward fund.

"It's a feeling of anger that you don't want anybody else to go through," she said.

However, more than two dozen other Minnesotans have reported things stolen from their shacks. Deputies from Chisago, Douglas, Pope and Otter Tail Counties are on the lookout and patrol frozen lakes on ATV's overnight when the break-ins have been reported.

More from KSTP: 

Authorities looking for suspect connected to stolen ice house at Monahan's Marine

Douglas County Sheriff's Office investigating string of fish house burglaries

Sheriff issues warning after string of fish house break-ins in Rice County

Ed Eklin of Ramsey County loves the tradition of ice fishing and built a shack himself. He parked it on White Bear Lake and says he's caught a number of muskies, northerns and walleyes over the past few days.

"It's fun it's like a kids fort really. We all huddle in here, keep warm and watch for flags out the window," said Eklin.

Eklin is aware of the break-ins and to prevent the chances of his ice house being vandalized, Eklin takes his expensive equipment, like a stove, home with him at night. He also uses a padlock and other security measures. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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