By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A string of burglaries in the west metro have police urging residents to be on alert.

There have been several break-ins in the Excelsior, Shorewood and Deephaven area in the last week.

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Police say thieves are gaining access by using garage-door openers left inside vehicles parked in the driveway.

It’s a tactic seen by South Lake Minnetonka Police three times since Sunday. Orono Police also had a similar burglary this week, but they are not sure if that is connected. Minnetonka also had break-ins.

(credit: CBS)

“From our experience here, they’re taking small electronics, iPhone, iPad, a purse,” said South Lake Minnetonka Police Department Chief Mike Meehan. “Things that are generally left in kind of the entryway or mud room.”

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The burglaries have happened between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., when the homeowners are sleeping.

“Before you go to bed at night, just walk around the inside of your property, make sure your doors are shut and locked, take your garage-door opener out of your car,” Chief Meehan said. “If your car is left in the driveway with an opener, just take it out, bring it in the house.”

Jim Berdahl had not heard about the burglary in his Shorewood neighborhood. He says the crime is a wake-up call.

“I’ll probably be checking every night before I go to bed that [the doors] are shut,” Berdahl said.

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The thieves have not been caught yet. South Lake Minnetonka Police have stepped up their presence, patrolling neighborhoods in the area.

Kate Raddatz