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Don’t Let Your Guard Down: Preventing Crimes Of Opportunity

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77642_Reg Chapman Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis police say criminals are using the element of surprise to sneak up and take gold necklaces from female victims.

There have been three robberies in three weeks in northeast Minneapolis.

Police say all the victims had their gold necklaces taken from around their necks in broad daylight.

Kurt Nowacki loves to show off his northeast neighborhood, especially Jackson Square Park. He loves the family-friendly atmosphere — the art in the park to the wade pool used frequently by the young families that make up the Holland Neighborhood.

Nowacki never expected to witness what he did days ago.

“I’m standing there — in broad daylight, watering my lawn — and it’s 50 feet away from me,” he said.

Just steps away from the park, he watched his neighbor get attacked.

“Are they playing? What’s going on? Then I realized this knucklehead was pulling the chain off her neck. And it happened in 10 seconds,” Nowacki said.

Nowacki witnessed one of three robberies of women, who were attacked within blocks of one another.

“One was standing in line at the Dairy Queen, one was sitting at the bus bench, the other was just walking down the street,” said Lt. Michael Fossum of Minneapolis Police.

Police call these crimes of opportunity.

“They might walk outside their house with the intentions of going to the store, but if something along the way presents them an easy target, they’re going to go for it,” Fossum said.

Investigators believe they are looking for three separate criminals.

“One guy was five-foot-tall, which tells me he is probably a juvenile, another guy was 30-to 40-years-old, and another guy was right around in the mid-20,” Fossum said.

Police say women should take these precautions: never walk alone, make eye contact with people, if they notice you noticing them they are less likely to attack someone who can identify them.

And don’t let your guard down, staying alert and off the cell phone can help keep you safe.

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