‘Cops and Cones’ convened in Roseville following string of burglaries


Mike Munzenrider photo • The Roseville Police Department held a “Cops and Cones” event at the Rice Street Dairy Queen May 16.

Mike Munzenrider photo • Police Chief Rick Mathwig and other department and city leaders came out to discuss neighborhood issues and crime prevention following a May 11 string of burglaries in the southeast Roseville area.

On the hottest day of the year so far, the Roseville Police Department convened a “Cops and Cones” event at the Dairy Queen on Rice Street in response to a recent string of burglaries and thefts in the area.

The May 16 event in southeast Roseville was held so residents could ask officers questions, get tips and give feedback to the police department, said Lt. Erika Scheider. 

To help break the ice, officers handed out vouchers for free Dairy Queen treats, which came in handy as temperatures reached towards 90 degrees.

The event happened just five days following a grouping of opportunistic home invasions and car thefts that prompted the police department to put out a crime alert, which it rarely does, the afternoon of May 11.

That morning, homeowners in the area of Chandler and Glenwood avenues reported prowlers inside their homes; nearby, another homeowner reported that people had entered their home, stolen valuables and then stole their vehicles.

 

The thieves were caught on security camera video arriving at the home on bicycles at 2 a.m., and leaving the area in a stolen SUV and truck a half hour later.

In all, Scheider said, there were four May 11 burglaries in the area and a number of vehicles rummaged through.

“It was interesting,” she said. “Usually with burglaries they target one or two houses and then leave the area — it was surprising how long they stayed in Roseville.”

“They looked for the easy targets,” Scheider added. “They didn’t bring in a bunch of tools and high tech stuff — they checked for cars that were unlocked.”

 

Losing sleep

Roseville City Council member Jason Etten grew up in the southeast Roseville area and still lives there, as do his parents.

He chatted with residents at the Cops and Cones event, saying it “shows we’re trying to be responsive and engaged, looking for long-term solutions.”

Though Etten’s never experienced anything like what prompted the crime alert at his home, he did say a few years back that his parents had left their garage open and that a couple things had been stolen out of it.

“We need to be aware and supportive of our neighbors,” he said.

That message was underscored by Scheider and police department community relations coordinator Corey Yunke as they chatted with residents.

One resident came to them with a nagging question: Is it safe to sleep with the windows open? The woman said that recently, a neighbor two doors down from her said someone had knocked on their windows around midnight.

The homeowner turned on the lights to see what was going on, and nothing else came of it, but the woman, who said she lives alone, was losing sleep worrying about the incident.

Scheider said for the utmost of security, the resident should lock her windows overnight, but short of that there are plenty of easier ways to make sure her home is safe. Definitely lock the doors, Scheider said; other things like inexpensive motion-sensing alarms can make a difference.

She also said that if you plan to be out of town, tell your neighbors — “they can be your security system.” 

“The most important thing is if you see something, call us,” Scheider added, pointing out officers have no problem checking out a false alarm. “Sometimes it’s deer.”

 

Less convenience, more safety

Another option, Scheider mentioned for residents, was having Yunke, who also works as the department’s crime prevention specialist, come and check out how secure their home is.

“I won’t come back [with results] and chastise you,” Yunke joked.

He said that he carries out up to eight such inspections a year, usually clustered in twos and threes around incidents such as the May 11 burglaries.

Yunke spoke of hardening residents’ homes as targets for thieves, though that’s not as serious as it sounds — mainly, he said, it’s about “lighting up and locking up.”

Other simple things people can consider, he said, include choosing a chain link fence over a privacy fence (neighbors can see inside in case of prowlers), planting “hostile vegetation” — bushes with thorns — near windows (it makes them tougher to climb through) and putting wind chimes on a gate (you can hear when it’s opened).

In all, Yunke said, thieves prey on little things that might make residents lives a bit easier, like unlocked doors or keys left in the car — “Our conveniences are the things criminals rely on.”

To set up a home inspection or for more information, contact the Roseville Police Department at 651-792-7008.

 

– Mike Munzenrider can be reached at mmunzenrider@lillienews.com or 651-748-7813

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