Uptick in car break-ins noted in Otsego

by Nick Williams
ECM Publishers
The number of car break-ins in the Otsego, St. Michael and Albertville area this summer has been higher than normal compared to past years, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. The department said many of the break-ins are committed by juveniles.
“Car break-ins in the northeast, and throughout the county to be honest, are just as high or maybe a little bit higher than they have been in the past, but I don’t think it’s anything out of the norm for our summertime activity,” said Lt. Albert Lutgens of the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.
Lutgens suggested juveniles tend to commit such acts in the summer months when school is out.
“It seems like every summer when the kids are out of school, we get a lot more car break-ins, where people’s items are stolen from their vehicles.”
Lutgents said home burglaries have not increased.
The city works together with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office to provide contracted local police protection services for Otsego residents.
Lutgens said the number of car break-ins should decrease as juveniles return to school.
“That’s been the pattern in the past,” he said. “I can’t speak for this year, … but in the past usually when the kids go back to school, they tend to go down a little bit.”
During the Sept. 12 Otsego City Council meeting, Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp requested Otsego Parks and Recreation Director Ross Demant ask the Park and Recreation Commission to discuss closing the parks earlier to eliminate juveniles roaming about at night.
The council has the final decision on when the parks close.
Lutgens said car owners should make sure they are locking their vehicles at night.
“We don’t see a whole lot of cars broken into when the windows are broken out,” he said. “Most of the thefts come from cars that are unlocked.”
Lutgens said also said car owners should not leave expensive items in plain sight in their vehicles.
“A lot of these kids, we’ve found they shop around, they actually call it car shopping, and they go around and they look in the cars and once they see something on the inside of a car, that’s the car that they are going to target.”
Lutgens also recommended people purchase motion lights if they live in a house or have their own driveway. He asked that victims who report car break-ins inform law enforcement of the last known time their items were seen in their cars.
“Sometimes these get reported later on and people don’t notice right away,” he said.
To report a crime, call 911 or contact Crime Stoppers of Minnesota. To contact the call center and to submit a tip please dial 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or Text “TIP674 plus your message” to CRIMES (274637).