by Dennis Dalman
It’s not just the Sartell Police Department warning residents about the importance of locking up vehicles. Many residents are reminding one another to do the same thing.
Take Daniel Vyskocil of Watab Court, for instance. Recently, one neighbor of Vyskocil had his truck rifled through one night. The vehicle had been left unlocked outside. Another neighbor had his work van burglarized; one of its windows had been smashed. Despite thousands of dollars worth of tools in the van, the thieves – probably looking only for money and electronic items – didn’t take anything.
One day, a neighbor of Vyskocil noticed a male in a black Volkswagen Jetta taking photos from his vehicle of houses in the neighborhood. The man tried to wave down the driver to ask him what he was doing, but the man drove off. Vyskocil and others have been wondering if that shutterbug was perhaps casing the homes in Watab Court.
Ironically, Watab Court is just a couple blocks west of the Sartell Police Department.
Vyskocil said he and the neighbors have discussed the rash of thefts in Sartell. They have all come to the agreement it’s best to lock vehicles, to keep valuables out of them and to lock garage doors at night.
“It’s important to watch out for your neighbors,” Vyskocil said. “People should take down license numbers and report the vehicle to the police, especially if it’s an unfamiliar vehicle in the neighborhood. We have a lot of cars driving through here and back out, even though there is a ‘No Outlet’ sign at the side of the road. It’s good to share information with neighbors. Why not have a cookout with your neighbors.”
At the July 23 Sartell City Council meeting, Police Chief Jim Hughes told the council that media warnings about locking vehicles seems to have helped greatly and a lot of stolen items have been recaptured by the police, who are now trying to find the items’ owners. Hughes also said the department has good leads about at least some of the break-in suspects but cannot make an announcement yet.