Rash of car break-ins reported in Southwest

An outbreak of vehicle burglaries recently plagued portions of Southwest.

There were 19 reported cases of vehicle break-ins in the East Isles, Lowry Hill, Stevens Square and Whittier neighborhoods March 18–24.

Nine of the burglarized vehicles were parked on the street. The remainder was split between parking lots and underground garages or driveways, according to police. All of the entries involved breaking windows.

There were no suspects and the string of cases is still under investigation, police said.

On the evening of March 18, Chad Bennett and his wife went out to dinner at Green Mill restaurant at 2626 Hennepin Ave. S., and parked in the adjoining lot.

The couple left the restaurant within an hour, only to find the driver’s side window of their Lexus smashed and Bennett’s briefcase missing.

“We were surprised — considering it’s a pretty active parking lot at that time of night and the short time frame we were actually in the restaurant — that that sort of thing could happen.”

Although a GPS unit was reported as a stolen item in six of the cases, there were no apparent patterns in the targeted vehicles’ make or model, police said. Among the other items claimed stolen were laptops, stereos, cameras, jewelry and

 “Several of the people who lost their GPS units had it in their glove compartment boxes,” said Chelsea Adams, a crime prevention specialist with the Minneapolis Police Department. “They were trying to hide it, which is good, but it’s probably better if people can bring it out with them.”

But taking along briefcases and gym bags could be just as important as keeping electronics and other valuables out of sight, Adams added.

“People don’t really think about it because they know that there’s clothing in it or something really innocuous, but if somebody’s walking past they might see a bag and think it could be holding jewelry or laptops,” Adams said.

Citizens are urged to immediately call 911 if they witness any suspicious activity. To share information about a crime with police, call the MPD Tips Line at 692-8477.

Vehicle burglary prevention tips

• Park in secured facilities if possible. Park in well lit areas if you park on the street.

• Don’t keep valuables in your vehicle. If you must have something valuable, keep it out of sight. Put valuables in the trunk before reaching your destination.

• Bring GPS units out of the car with you. Note: Several victims had stored the GPS units in their glove compartments.

• Watch for suspicious people walking near parked cars, looking in windows or trying to open the door handles.

• Watch for people on the street before exiting your home or vehicle.

• When you get into your car, lock your doors and do not just sit in the parked vehicle.

(Source: Chelsea Adams, Crime Prevention Specialist)