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Seven juveniles were arrested in connection with a spate of vehicle thefts after suspicious activity was reported to police in Woodbury.

The Woodbury Department of Public Safety said five of the juveniles were arrested after being found in a car that was stopped on I-694 by Washington County deputies on Tuesday.

Later, two more were arrested on US–61 in St. Paul, with all seven arrests stemming from 911 calls made by residents reporting suspicious activity.

The department says all seven arrested are "connected to stolen vehicles," which comes amid a wider crime trend seen across Minnesota and nationwide, where there has been a significant upturn in vehicle thefts and carjackings.

It comes in the same week that a 17-year-old boy was arrested and charged as an adult regarding three vehicle-related robberies in Woodbury.

Tayvein Sophun Pttachan Tep was charged with 2nd-degree assault and motor vehicle theft outside Target store at Valley Creek Plaza, another aggravated robbery outside Chick-fil-A near the Target store, and motor vehicle theft outside a tobacco store nearby.

They all happened within a 45-minute period on November 8.

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In a statement, the Woodbury DPS said: "As arrests are being made around the metro, law enforcement still needs the community’s help to prevent the cycle of auto thefts. Thieves are roaming the Twin Cities in stolen cars looking for more to steal. They are opportunistic, looking for unattended cars running or simply checking for unlocked cars for things to steal. Sometimes they get lucky and find keys inside, or make off with a wallet, purse, or other items. They are brazen enough to enter open garages as well.

"Arrests alone cannot curb the auto theft problem – we need to remove the opportunities, even if it means giving up some convenience. Leaving cars running for a quick dash into a store or business, not locking vehicles, leaving keys in vehicles and leaving garage doors open are all simple things we as residents can take a moment to change to deter theft. Key fobs (proximity fobs) left in vehicles or vehicles left running regardless of where the key fob is seems to be a reoccurring theme with auto thefts as well."

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