By Jennifer Kotila
MEEKER COUNTY, MN “There seems to be a little more than usual, there’s some car prowls going on,” said Meeker County Chief Deputy Brad Lindgren.
In the course of three weeks, GPS units have been taken from three vehicles in Dassel.
In the most recent GPS theft from a residence on 735th Avenue in Dassel, reported Sept. 26 at 8:40 a.m., a checkbook was also taken.
The sheriff’s office has been tracking that thief through the check cashing system, Lindgren said.
There are extra patrols in the Dassel area, as well as deputies visiting with kids in Dassel who may know something about what’s happening, Lindgren said.
Some of the recently reported thefts are related to cases in Wright County, and the sheriff’s offices in both counties are working together to solve them, according to Lindgren.
For instance, there seems to be a rash of thefts taking place from churches in the area, and Wright County has checked surveillance video at some Cokato businesses.
A guitar was taken from the Dassel Church of Christ Sept. 25 at approximately 11:43 a.m.
Pastor David Herring saw two men leave the church, which was locked, carrying a guitar case.
The men left in a greenish-gray, mid-1990s style, boxy sedan, squealing the tires as they left, according to Lindgren.
“There have been similar thefts from churches east of Dassel,” Lindgren said.
Some of the thefts are related to the rash of copper and other scrap metal thefts that have been taking place in the area the last couple of years.
For instance, 600 feet of copper welding lead was reported stolen at 7:24 a.m. Sept. 21.
The copper was taken from a vehicle at a residence on Meeker County State Aid Highway 27 in Dassel.
“The theft of copper is a pervasive problem. Even though it may not seem like a lot is taken, it costs owners thousands of dollars sometimes to replace what was stolen,” Lindgren said.
He noted that the theft of copper affects everyone, whether it be taxpayers paying for replacement of the things stolen from municipalities, or hikes in private citizens insurance.
“The public’s help is still needed reporting any suspicious activity in the area,” Lindgren said.
In another theft, a chain saw worth about $100 was taken from a garage on 708th Avenue, Dassel, and was reported Sept. 23 at 4:51 p.m.
Finally, a 13-inch color TV was reported stolen from a residence on 260th Street in Darwin Sept. 26 at 11:14 a.m.
The burglar rummaged through the sheds and house, which is a second residence to the owners, sometime between Sept. 3 and Sept. 26.
“There seems to be an uptick in the number of thefts occurring, but it seems like a lot of small stuff is being taken,” Lindgren said.
While not all of the thefts are related, some are, and the sheriff’s office has suspects in some of the thefts, as well, Lindgren said.
If anyone has any information about any of the thefts, call the sheriff’s tipline at (320) 693-5411.