Dinkytown wary of early burglaries

A recent Five Guys burglary took place during a morning police shift change.

Sarah Nienaber

Police shift changes and morning deliveries leaving doors propped open have caused concern among Dinkytown business owners.
On the morning of March 10, one burglar took advantage of the opportunity for crime.
When a deliveryman arrived at Five Guys Burgers and Fries that morning, a lurker slipped into the building while the door was propped opened and waited for the deliveryman to leave, said the burger jointâÄôs assistant manager Richard Dortch.
Officers arrived to the building at 6:30 a.m. after an alarm went off only to find the building secure, according to a police report.
But when employees arrived to open at 7:15 a.m., they noticed money missing and called to report a burglary.
Dortch said cash was stolen from a tip jar and a register was destroyed, also with cash missing.
Dinkytown Business Association President Skott Johnson said he sees people prowling âÄúquite oftenâÄù in the early morning, pulling on car doors and the back doors of businesses, trying to get in.
âÄúI always call it in to 911, and I know a number of other business owners do,âÄù he said. âÄúYou can sort of spot the people that are looking for a back door to get into or a cash register that isnâÄôt being attended.âÄù
The business association consistently reminds owners to be careful at that time of day when their doors may be unlocked for deliveries, Johnson said.
Café 421âÄôs Jim Sander said a Minneapolis police officer visited a DBA meeting the day of the burglary and said the time of the crime coincided with a shift change at the police department.
Whether the burglar knew of a shift change at that hour was unclear.
The shift change essentially takes up patrolling time, as it may have the morning of the burglary, Sander said, paraphrasing the officer. Sander said he doesnâÄôt believe the police were at fault.
âÄúI think the problem is that youâÄôve got the wily criminal who knows his timing and takes advantage of an opportunity,âÄù Sander said.
Johnson said, âÄúMore patrols would be great, but itâÄôs just a difficult time of the day.âÄù Other Dinkytown business owners said theyâÄôre also pleased with police patrols.
Minneapolis police Sgt. Steve McCarty confirmed officers go through shift changes a couple times a day but wouldnâÄôt say the exact times, âÄúfor obvious reasons.âÄù
âÄúWe tell everybody they put locks on doors to keep them locked,âÄù he said. The police department also reminds business owners that adequate lighting and an alarm system will help keep perpetrators out.
âÄúIn my experience, for my business, they have always been there for me,âÄù said House of Hanson owner Laurel Bauer, who said she appreciates the âÄúdouble presenceâÄù of the University  of Minnesota and Minneapolis police departments.
Sander said both before and after the burglary at Five Guys, he has seen police checking back doors in the early morning hours.
Dortch said heâÄôs never had a problem with the police before and was satisfied with the response time from the police the day of the burglary.
Since the break-in at Five Guys, the restaurant is more careful with closing at night, he said.