Brazen burglars entered three occupied homes last month, confronting and restraining a homeowner at one of them.
The latter incident took place Nov. 3, on the 1300 block of Summit Avenue in Lowry Hill. Three masked suspects entered the residence by removing window screens and crawling through an unsecured kitchen window. They restrained the homeowner and stole multiple guns from his house before driving off in his Mercedes, which was recovered near the home.
On Nov. 9, two more occupied homes were burglarized in the Kingfield neighborhood, one at the 3700 block of Pillsbury Ave. S. and the other at the 1300 block of 1st Ave. S. Both incidents happened while the occupants were sleeping. The intruders left immediately after being confronted by the homeowners.
A missing wallet was recovered intact outside the Pillsbury Avenue home. Nothing was reported missing from the 1st Avenue residence.
While overall crime in Southwest Minneapolis has decreased over the last year, burglaries are up significantly and most are unforced. With both cases in the Kingfield neighborhood, the burglar was able to enter through open or unlocked windows. It isn’t unusual to have home break-ins late at night, but the proximity of these particular burglaries raised questions.
"This is not a real common event, but it does happen," said Tom Thompson, a crime prevention specialist with the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct. "Most of these burglars do not want a confrontation or to even be seen," he said. "It is exceptionally rare that they confront anyone or turn it into a home invasion robbery."
The recent home invasions spun rumors that they were somehow related, but Thompson said that’s probably not the case.
"I believe it to be more coincidence than anything else," he said.
All three cases are under investigation. The Minneapolis Police Department has added patrol coverage in the neighborhoods. If you have any information, call the Minneapolis Tip Line at 612-692-8477.
Because of the alarming number of burglaries that have occurred during the last couple months, the precinct and some neighborhood associations are trying to get the word out to prevent future incidents. Kingfield holds Crime & Safety meetings the third Tuesday of every month at Martin Luther King Park.
"Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings," said Joanna Hallstrom, a staff person for the Kingfield Neighborhood Association. "Residents have the chance to sit down face-to-face with city police and ask questions, and victims of burglaries can also talk about their experiences."
The 5th Precinct offered these safety tips:
• Lock or secure all doors, windows and garage entries at all times, even if you are at or around your house.
• If a burglar enters your home while you are there, do not confront him or her. Immediately go to a secure area or leave the home if possible and call 911. Report a burglary in process.
• Keep an eye out for people on the street before exiting your home/vehicle.
• Call 911 to report any suspicious activity. This includes strangers loitering near homes. The majority of burglars who are caught in the act are caught because a neighbor reported seeing something suspicious.
• Leave outdoor lights on overnight or install lighting that operates from dusk until dawn.