A sudden spate of burglaries is prompting warnings to home and car owners in the southern Twin Cities suburbs.
Eden Prairie and Bloomington police departments are reporting a rise in residential and auto burglaries this week.
Thieves are targeting homeowners in both cities using the same tactic: stealing garage door openers from unlocked cars to enter homes. Police are urging residents to take the proper precautions to secure their property.
In Eden Prairie, two house burglaries and six cars were tampered with in the space of a few hours early Tuesday morning.
Suspects used a garage door opener from an unlocked vehicle parked in the driveway of a home on the 17000 block of Evener Way, and used it to open the garage door and rummage through another vehicle.
Nothing was stolen, but a few hours later, at 6:45 a.m. in the 18000 block of Tristram Way, suspects once again obtained a garage door opener from an unlocked vehicle to enter the garage.
They then went into the home through an unlocked service door, taking a wallet and car keys from the kitchen and using the keys to steal a car in the driveway while the victims slept.
The same morning, police received 6 additional reports of burglars tampering with cars in the Trillium Circle and Fairway Drive area, with the suspects rifling through cars in each case.
"Eden Prairie Police believe there may be multiple suspects committing these crimes," the city said in the news release. "Detectives are following up on leads, but are also asking the public to report any suspicious activity."
Same thing is happening in Bloomington
A similar alert has been issued this week by police in Bloomington, where it's noted there has been "a rise in burglaries in various neighborhoods in the city" over the past month.
The manner in which thieves have been targeting households is similar to that of Eden Prairie, namely searching unlocked vehicles for garage door openers.
"We have seen over a dozen incidents where thieves have been accessing homes through attached garages," police said.
"Reports indicate that suspects are gaining access by taking garage door openers from vehicles parked outside in driveways. The break-ins are happening at various times of the day, but most often during the late night- early morning hours.
"The suspects are targeting small, but highly valuable items including cash, wallets, purses and car keys that are near the door.
"In many cases, the suspects then return to the vehicle where they obtained the garage door opener and steal the vehicle if they were able to locate the keys inside the home."
Bloomington PD also said there has been an increase in burglaries where thieves are breaking windows to access a home and ransack them while owners are out at work, typically around 10-11 a.m.