25-30 police agencies investigating burglary ring

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (KARE) -- It happened again in Bloomington. In almost identical fashion to dozens of other cases across the metro area, police said suspects stole a garage door opener from an unlocked car at the Volkmann home and used it to access the garage and house.

They got away with Larry Volkmann's car last week. They rummaged through his wife and son's SUV, stole a motorcycle and a baby stroller and even stole items from inside the house.

"They were in my home, while we were sleeping," Volkmann said. "It's such a violation."

It's just the latest report, as local police agencies continue to grapple with cases in nearly two dozen communities. Although there is no lead agency working on the case, roughly 25 to 30 local departments are meeting and communicating regularly as they share data and information with each other (the FBI and BCA are not actively investigating, but a BCA spokesperson said the agency is ready and able to assist local departments with any needs). With the help of crime analysts and the Hennepin County Crime Information Sharing and Analysis, the departments have access to suspect information, photos, stolen vehicle and property descriptions and other important evidence.

In Big Lake, for example, police tracked suspects by obtaining footage from places they tried to use stolen credit cards. So far, three suspects have been arrested, including two in Wright County and one in Minneapolis. In the Minneapolis case, police said they arrested a 16-year-old suspect after chasing him in a stolen vehicle from Wright County.

As Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf put it: "For me, there is absolutely no doubt they're all going to be caught and arrested."

For the victims, like Larry Volkmann, they certainly hope that's the case.

"It's frightening," Volkmann said, "how fast and bold they are in doing this."