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Police make arrests in two Farmington burglaries

Facebook is proving to be a valuable tool for helping Farmington police catch criminals.

On Monday, Farmington police chief Brian Lindquist announced that three of four suspects in two Oct. 1 burglaries had been arrested thanks to tips the city received after posting images on the city’s Facebook page.

The burglaries happened in the early morning hours of Oct. 1, Lindquist said. The suspects were going around one Farmington neighborhood and breaking into homes. The suspects checked for unlocked car doors, Lindquist said. They found two car doors that were unlocked, then used the garage door openers inside the cars to gain access to the homes.

In both cases, the suspects were in the homes while the residents slept, Lindquist said.

“That is a dangerous, dangerous crime,” he said. “That’s your domain. That’s where you feel the most protected, and they have come into your home.… I cannot think of a greater violation of privacy than to have somebody come into your home while you sleep.”

Once inside, the individuals stole cash, identification information and credit cards from the residents. Later on Oct. 1, investigators were able to determine that the credit cards had been used at a number of locations around the south metro area. Police were able to obtain a video of potential suspects from a couple of locations.

Police were able to pull photos of the suspects from those videos. The photos were put up on the city’s Facebook page early in the morning of Oct. 2, with a request to help identify the people in the photos. By early afternoon, Farmington police received a positive identification for one of the women in the photos.

“These people were inside the victims’ homes. That needs immediate attention. You think of the crimes that are going to affect people the most, and this is one of those types of crimes. That’s why we felt it was necessary to get those pictures out as soon as possible, to as many people as possible,” Lindquist said.

By Oct. 4, Farmington police investigator Brianna Dirks was working with Eagan police, and all four suspects were identified. The suspects included two males and two females. One of the males identified was already in the Dakota County Jail on another charge. The two females were located and arrested. Attempts to locate the fourth suspect, the other male, are ongoing, Lindquist said Monday.

Charges are pending for the suspects. Since they entered the Farmington homes, the suspects will likely be charged with first degree felony burglary.

“They’re taking the credit cards, cash and IDs,” Lindquist said. “There’s only one thing to do with those, and that’s to use them. They’re obviously doing it for financial gain, and they obviously used the credit cards. That’s how we were able to track them.”

Even though most of the suspects have been arrested, Lindquist said the incidents should serve as a warning to Farmington residents. Burglars seize opportunities, so residents should always remember to lock their doors, and their car doors, even if the cars are already in the garage.

“It takes a different breed of person to walk into someone’s house when it’s an occupied dwelling,” he said. “There is no reason to forgo safety and to think that it won’t happen because we’re in Farmington. If somebody would have woken up and discovered (the suspects), what is the potential? It could have ended up in an assault or something worse.”

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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