Weekend burglaries in U area worry residents

At least five burglaries were reported in Como and Marcy-Holmes.

Megan Nicolai

A string of burglaries over the weekend has residents of the Southeast Como and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods wondering about the safety of their homes.

Despite the extreme heat, at least five burglaries were reported in those neighborhoods, including four Sunday.

Three houses in Marcy-Holmes were burglarized over the weekend. The other two were on 22nd Avenue Southeast in Como on Sunday morning.

Minneapolis police Sgt. Steve McCarty said the Sunday burglaries may have been the work of a single group or an individual âÄî four break-ins in a single day is high, he said.

Minneapolis police have no suspect information so there is little Minneapolis police can do, McCarty said.

Burglars may have taken advantage of windows left open due to the heat, McCarty said.

âÄúIf youâÄôre going to be away for any period of time, secure windows so they canâÄôt get in that way,âÄù he said.

University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner agreed.

âÄúBut thatâÄôs easier said than done if you donâÄôt have any air conditioning,âÄù he said.

Alyssa Fischer, a University of Minnesota communications studies senior discovered that her laptop, iPod, digital camera and some photos had been stolen in the night when she returned Sunday morning to her home in Marcy Holmes.

âÄúIt really creeps me out that they have all of my pictures from my camera and laptopâÄù Fischer said. âÄúMy life was in that computer.âÄù

Fischer had left the night before at 9:30 p.m., leaving her window locked, shades drawn and lights on so she would appear to be home. She started the habit after her downstairs neighbors were broken into a few weeks earlier.

Monday night, Fischer and her roommate decided to see if one of her neighbors might have a clear view of her window, and could be a suspect.

When they shut off the light, through the curtain they immediately saw the figure of a male on her fire escape.

The man ran away when they screamed, and Fischer and her roommate called the police again.

Fischer and the rest of her roommates have moved out of the house and are now living with friends or family until their lease ends at the end of August.

Craig Wilson, a 36-year-old Southeast Como resident and University graduate walked to ManningâÄôs Café on Como Avenue to meet up with friends around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

When he returned home at midnight, he saw broken glass from a window in his door, which a burglar had to crawl through to enter and exit his home.

A burglar would have had to use the window, he said, because he installed double-deadbolt locks on his door which require a key to open from both sides after a previous burglary in October.

Wilson said his work laptop was taken, along with an Xbox 360, which was hooked up to his entertainment center.

When police arrived, they fingerprinted many of the door handles in WilsonâÄôs home and some of his CDs, and took a sample of what looked like a small spot of blood on his front door.

Wilson has lived in the same house for more than nine years, but had not suffered a break-in until last Halloween. He said he feels like Southeast Como has become more dangerous in the past year.

Wilson said that he and his neighbors have noticed suspicious groups of people in the neighborhood.

âÄúIt seems to be a group of people walking around and pretending to be

solicitors, then walking up to peopleâÄôs doors and seeing if theyâÄôre open,âÄù he said.

He said he found out from neighbors that there have been six or eight burglaries in the last two weeks. He believes that his street is being hit harder than other areas of the Como neighborhood.

âÄúIt might be more that someone saw my comings and goings,âÄù he said. âÄúIâÄôm wondering if there arenâÄôt just people watching and canvassing the neighborhood.âÄù

McCarty stressed that anyone who sees suspicious activity or someone acting out of character should call the police and let officers check on the situation.

âÄúMore often than not itâÄôs nothing, but sometimes it could lead to something, or prevent something from happening, such as these burglaries,âÄù McCarty said.