Reporting Liz Collin
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Businesses in Burnsville are being targeted by thieves, and police say the burglars know what they’re doing.
Surveillance video from one of the first cases shows three people wearing hoods breaking into the back door of a sports bar and getting out with a safe full of cash in just a few minutes.
Similar robberies have happened at seven businesses in the last few weeks around County Road 42 and Interstate 35-E in Burnsville. All the robberies have happened between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
To add insult to injury, the businesses believe they’ve seen the thieves before — as customers. Restaurant owners think the robbers are casing their places so quickly because they seem to know the layouts.
Ernie’s Pub and Grille is one of the latest victims. It just opened a few weeks ago at 14351 Nicollet Court and was robbed last Wednesday.
Ernie’s co-owner Bryan Prettyman said the robbers kicked in the door so hard its knob went through the wall. In a style similar to the other burglaries, the robbers broke in and stole Ernie’s safe in just a few minutes.
Champps on County Road 42 had the same thing happen two weeks ago. Jill Lenfestey, the restaurant’s general manager, said the robbers stole $3,000 from the pull tab – money which would have gone to a youth hockey program.
The robbers also attempted to rob Champps’ ATM, Lenfestey said.
Police think the same robbers hit Bumper’s Sports Bar, from which they stole nearly $5,000 in pull tab cash.
“It’s scary to know it was someone in your bar that you might have waited on,” Lenfestey said.
As for Eddie’s Pub and Grille, it’s adding more security alarms to its system.
“You learn from your mistakes,” Prettyman said. “We’re changing our practices a little bit just being more cautious.”