$2,000 reward offered
Residents and cabin owners of the Denham area and southeastern Aitkin County have been on high alert after a recent string of burglaries. One citizen stated the burglaries appear to be connected. "Whoever did this had obviously cased the residences," stated the unidentified homeowner. The burglaries began on June 27 and have continued into July. The first round of burglaries began on Farm to Market Road and then, residents believe, the same thieves worked their way down Birch Creek Road. In July alone, seven burglaries were committed in this general area.
The majority of places being burglarized are hunting cabins. One residence, which had been hit by the recent flooding, had been burglarized while their possessions were kept in their garage until the home was cleaned up completely. Many of these places have locked gates, which the thieves had cut. It is believed the crimes are mostly occurring at night or during the day while homeowners are not present.
Items being taken are fairly substantial such as lawn mowers, guns, outboard motors and tools. Other less substantial, but essential items such as gas cans, copper wire, extension cords, toilet paper, food and liquor were also consistently taken from the houses and cabins. One residence was reported to have the cupboards, freezer and refrigerator all cleaned out.
One unidentified property owner says he had four game cameras stolen, two of which were securely mounted to trees.
Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole declined to comment on the details of the crimes because the cases are currently under investigation. Sheriff Cole did advise citizens to immediately report burglaries to law enforcement. He stated one of the problems the sheriff's department encounters is residents and property owners don't report the crimes committed. He stated that 50 percent of crimes, statistically, go unreported. At press time, the Aitkin County sheriff had not yet returned the newspaper's phone call.
Tips to keep your house or cabin more safe from theft include the following:
- Don't keep expensive items in cabins/hunting shacks.
- Invest in motion-sensor lights and keep the outside of the house/cabin well-lit.
- Keep blinds closed on windows and doors so thieves cannot peruse the items in your house.
- Make the house/cabin seem as if someone were home with timed lamps or radios.
- Keep any shrubs around the home trimmed low so potential thieves are unable to hide in them.
- Start a neighborhood watch group.
Any belongings in a home or cabin should be photographed or videotaped. An inventory of all belongings should be made, right down to model and serial numbers.
There is a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of these individuals. The contact number is (651) 245-7648.