Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, have been hit with a number of break-ins over the past six months, Wahpeton Police Chief Scott Thorsteinson and Breckenridge Police Chief Kris Karlgaard said.
The majority of break-ins have been occurring at residences, Karlgaard said — one recent Breckenridge break-in occurred while the homeowner was inside their residence.
Several businesses have dealt with break-ins or attempted break-ins on the Wahpeton side, including the Daily News office in late October. Other targets for break-ins include cars, sheds and garages.
“Our job is always about keeping you and your stuff as safe as we can,” Thorsteinson said.
The Wahpeton police chief advised individuals to notify law enforcement right away if they notice their internet has gone offline and cannot be reconnected, Thorsteinson said. There have been reports of people’s internet connection being cut or interrupted prior to a break-in, rendering alarms and ring cams useless.
Thorsteinson emphasized the importance of contacting the police promptly if this happens so they can respond while a suspect may still be in the area.
He also advised residents to let their neighbors know if they plan to leave for the holidays. The 17-person Wahpeton Police Department offers extra patrolling. “It takes a village,” Thorsteinson said of preventing and responding to break-ins.
Breckenridge Detective Sergeant Jackson Kriel said the Breckenridge Police Department has been working in conjunction with the Wahpeton Police Department on some of the break-in cases.
“Some of the behaviors or the manner in which it’s done seems to be similar on both sides in some of the break-ins, so we have shared information with Wahpeton about that,” Kriel said.
Kriel said it’s of utmost importance to report any suspicious activity — if it turns out to be a false alarm, it’s better to have the situation evaluated by law enforcement.
Karlgaard and Kriel also iterated the need to keep homes, sheds, garages and cars locked. Unlocked doors give the cover of silence to criminals, Karlgaard said, and they can easily slip inside unnoticed. Garage and shed doors should be closed when an individual is no longer within view of them. Karlgaard also advised residents to invest in cameras, which help immensely with identifying suspects and solving cases.