MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After gathering the groceries in her car, Julie Wicklund hit the button to shut her garage door Sunday around noon at her south Minneapolis home.

“When I went into the house, unbeknownst to me the door had not actually closed,” Wicklund said.

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That opening was apparently enough for an armed robber to walk through the garage and into her home near 48th Street and Girard Avenue South. Wicklund was sitting at the island in her kitchen, eating lunch with her daughter.

“He walked into this house with no regard, people there or not. Held a gun to us, spoke very calm. Not erratically, not on drugs. Just very simply, ‘Give me your keys, don’t look at me,’” Wicklund said.

She said the thief grabbed her purse, computer, cellphone, and took off. Her son heard the commotion from upstairs and had already locked himself in the bathroom and called 911.

“It was absolutely surreal,” she said.

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The frightening crime has increased, according to Minneapolis police. The suspects are in cars and follow victims to their homes to rob them, sometimes going inside the home. They’re armed and have even attacked homeowners.

WCCO tried to ask police where the crimes happened and how often, but didn’t get an answer. WCCO did however make contact with two more victims in the Lowry Hill neighborhood.

“It happened again the following night just a few blocks from us and people are being terrorized in our community,” Wicklund said.

She had the locks changed on her home and car, but her sense of security remains shaken. She is the block captain for her local Neighborhood Watch. She sent an email to neighbors about the crime, reminding them to lock their doors and turn on their alarms, even when they’re home.

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“It’s gonna take a long time for any of us to feel safe, any of us. My home, anyone in our neighborhood,” she said.

Jeff Wagner