By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the second time this month, a rash of garage burglaries has hit a neighborhood in the city’s southwest side.

Sunday night into Monday, Minneapolis police said there were seven garage burglaries in the Uptown area, specifically the 3200 and 3300 blocks of James and Knox Avenues South.

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More than a week earlier, eight garages were hit in the alley connecting James and Knox Avenues South between 52nd and 57th Streets. Police said it’s likely the crimes are connected.

Mitchell Heck didn’t realize his Monday was going to include some handiwork, but a thief in the night left him no choice after rummaging through his garage and car.

“Your car is such a personal space. When you kind of get that violated by somebody that you don’t even know who they are, it’s a little strange,” he said.

That feeling was likely shared by several neighbors, six in particular also reported garage burglaries in the Uptown area. Police said the thief or thieves entered the garages through unlocked services doors or by breaking in.

“Fortunately for me, there was no actual damage. Unfortunately for some of the other houses, they were actually kicked in,” he said.

Earlier this month, a similar burst of burglaries hit a five-block stretch of James and Knox Avenues South. A car with the keys left inside was stolen at one home. Another victim had a snow blower taken.

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Both neighborhoods where the crimes occurred are in the city’s 5th Precinct, which covers most of Southwest Minneapolis.

The police department’s Data Dashboard shows there have been 768 burglaries reported in the 5th Precinct since the beginning of the year. That’s a 29% increase from the same time period 2018.

But the numbers are still lower than 2017 when more than 821 burglaries were reported during the same time period.

“It doesn’t feel like it’s gonna be a concern overall. The neighborhood still feels safe,” said Heck.

Police said they’ve increased patrols in both neighborhoods, while continuing to remind people to install lighting, security systems, and cameras.

Heck focused on strengthening his door locks by using longer screws and a larger strike plate. “Ain’t nobody kicking this (door) open,” he said.

Burglaries across Minneapolis are up about 8% compared to this time last year. However, the total is lower compared to the same time period in 2017.

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St. Paul’s reported burglaries are up 8% compared to 2018.

Jeff Wagner