After the tornado, thieves strike

Burglary reports have doubled in north Minneapolis since the storm. Police say it's doubtful that all are crimes of opportunity.

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North Minneapolis residents and business owners reported double the burglaries last week after a tornado tore through multiple neighborhoods on May 22.

A review of police incident reports over a six-day period ending Friday afternoon showed about 52 burglaries reported on the North Side.

That compared with about 26 burglaries in the same area a week earlier, and about 28 burglaries two weeks before, according to weekly Fourth Precinct crime maps.

"Obviously, there is an increase," police spokesman Sgt. Stephen McCarty said.

But he added that police have yet to determine how many cases were directly related to the storm. That process could take a few weeks.

"Given the circumstances, I don't think the number of burglaries is as extensive as people might think," McCarty said.

Last Tuesday, police advised people to be alert to break-ins and to look out for their neighbors. The next day, precinct officers stepped up patrols, partly to deter burglaries and looting, a city news release said.

The North Side numbers reflect burglary activity throughout the precinct, including some neighborhoods that were outside the tornado's path.

Reports show:

• Two stores were robbed of cigarettes and other items after their security systems were disabled by power outages. A door was pried open at the Fremont Market, and a plexiglass window smashed at the Northside Food Market. Both burglaries occurred during the early morning hours.

• Someone entered a home through an opening created by a fallen tree to steal from a residence in the 3300 block of Irving Avenue N.

• A woman who left her Sheridan Avenue home Monday night because the power was out and she was "afraid of the neighborhood" had a side door forced open and jewelry, electronic equipment and other items stolen.

• Four teen boys were arrested in separate burglaries on James and Fremont Avenues N. On James Avenue, police arrested a 16-year-old shortly after he kicked in a garage door and ransacked a vehicle. On Fremont Avenue, a 14-year-old and two 16-year-olds were arrested after they were seen leaving a barber shop carrying duffel bags.

Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109

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