Police in Maple Grove are increasing patrols and searching for answers after a string of burglaries in the metro suburb left neighbors feeling nervous and wondering how the crooks are getting around house alarms.
"It's a difficult time right now in our neighborhood," Bhavna Kachru told Fox 9 News. "People are scared."
Police don't have any leads yet in the two-month burglary spree. They aren't sure if one person or a group is responsible for the burglaries, but they do believe all the crimes are connected. In all cases, the burglar broke a rear sliding glass door or patio door to get inside.
BURGLARY LOCATIONS, TIMES
- 6300 block of Merrimack Lane North on Sept. 3 at about 8:42 p.m.
- 6400 block of Alvarado Lane North on Oct. 24, between 9:30 a.m. and 2:50 p.m.
- 18200 block of 65th Avenue North on Oct. 28 between 11:40 and 11:50 a.m.
- 17100 block of 63rd Place North on Nov. 16 between 6:15 p.m. and 1:15 a.m.
- 6200 block of Fountain Lane N on Nov. 18 between 6:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.
After hearing about the crime spree, the Kachrus didn't waste time trying to protect themselves and their home.
"We got a security system installed on Thursday because we had heard about these burglaries, "Amit Kachru said.
To no avail, however -- just 2 days later, the alarm didn't sound when they got hit.
"They got a lot of stuff," Amit Kachru lamented.
The crook broke out a sliding glass window, went upstairs and went after their money and jewelry. The empty boxes stand as a reminder of the missing goods they once contained -- and as a warning of a thief who is still at large.
"I think he is going to do it again," Amit Kachru admitted.
Kachru's prediction came true last Monday when someone ransacked the house where Kevin and Heather Lam live.
"My whole body shuttered," Heather Lam recalled. "I could barely stand up. I had seen all the places where I had valuables, and those areas were all hit really hard."
The Lams' back door was also smashed, and the culprit in that case also seemed fixed on cash and jewelry.
"They knew what they wanted," Kevin Lam said.
Just like the other home heists -- of which there are 8 in all, the Lams were burgled in the middle of the day when no one was home.
"He knew when to come in and when to get out," Kevin Lam said. "That's what's disturbing."
Kevin Lam spent some of his Sunday installing motion lights to scare off any future criminals, but victims say the thief isn't deterred by much. In fact, it takes a 15 foot ladder to get to the Lams' back door because there is no deck.
"We know he's getting more courageous," Lam said. "It's only a matter of time when someone is going to get hurt."
As for the Kachrus, they plan on installing cameras and say that after coming to the United States 20 years ago, this crime was the first thing that made Amit Kachru feel uneasy.
"We're going to make a mini-fortress here," he vowed. "This is not what I wanted to do, not why I came to this country."
Police say it's possible the thieves may case out the homes they hit, and they may even try knocking on the door to determine if anyone is home before they strike; however, neighbors hope the burglar knows they are banding together to watch one anothers' homes more closely.
The residents are currently collecting money as well to create a reward for an arrest that leads to a conviction in the cases.
Anyone witnessing any suspicious activity is urged to call 911, but those with tips to report are also urged to contact Det. Travis Pobuda directly at 763-494-6195.
Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or texting "TIP674" and the tip to CRIMES (274637).