Orono police are investigating a spree of thefts from cars parked outside day-care centers in the Lake Minnetonka town, with the latest one happening Friday morning.

Police say the suspects are targeting unlocked cars parked as parents run in to drop off their children at day-care centers. The suspects are taking anything of value, including personal information such as credit cards to purchase items and commit identity theft.

“Generally, parents’ arms are full of stuff and kids and they leave values behind,” Deputy Chief of Police Chris Fischer said.

Police dropped off alerts Friday morning at child-care centers in Orono to warn parents and employees about the crimes. On Friday morning after a theft at one day care, the criminals used the stolen credit card twice within 15 minutes of the theft, Fischer said.

Police have arrested one suspect, who was released from jail until the investigation ends, but Fischer said investigators believe there’s a group of suspects associated with the crime spree not just in Orono but across the Twin Cities, also stealing mail and using that information for identity theft.

“We believe it’s the same group all over the metro doing it,” he said.

Police are reminding residents to not leave items of value in their cars and to lock up cars even when gone for just a few minutes. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 952-258-5321.