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Police believe nighttime burglaries connected to recent crimes in other communities

Two separate burglary incidents reported to the Willmar Police Department during the early morning hours on Thursday are believed to be connected to the recent string of nighttime home burglaries in other area communities.

According to Chief David Wyffels, both incidents included someone entering an occupied residence in the night while residents were sleeping. The burglar or burglars took a small amount of cash and quietly left the scene.

In one instance, reported around 7:45 a.m. Thursday, someone entered a home along the 1500 block of 10th Street Southeast by cutting a window screen and then opening a window. According to the incident report, the resident discovered her purse was missing, found some of the contents of the bag in her yard and then discovered that the screen had been cut and her home entered sometime during the night.

In the other incident, along the 1100 block of Dana Drive Southeast, someone entered a home around 4:20 a.m. through an unlocked garage. The suspect ran away when the resident woke up.

The police are strongly encouraging all citizens to lock their garage and house doors, along with making sure windows are not only shut but also locked or secured in a fashion that would require a burglar to break the glass in order to enter the home.

According to another incident report, Willmar police received a report around 4:20 a.m. from an assisted living facility along the 1500 block of 19th Avenue Southwest. Staff members saw a man standing outside of a window and the man ran away when lights were turned on.

The latest burglaries add Willmar to a long list of area communities where burglars have been entering homes at night while residents are sleeping and taking cash, purses, wallets and similar items.

On Wednesday, Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartog announced the Sheriff's Office is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in similar burglaries in Kandiyohi, Lake Lillian and Pennock. Those incidents began with nine home burglaries in Kandiyohi on Sept. 8 or 9 and then spread to Lake Lillian and Pennock.

Area law enforcement agencies have received reports of similar burglaries that happened Aug. 24, 25 and 26 in Belgrade, where six homes were entered during the night. Thieves hit 11 homes and garages in Clara City on the night of Sept. 24. Burglaries, including thefts from cars and garages, have also been reported in Benson and Montevideo.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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