Dozens of cars, some with keys still dangling from the ignition, have been stolen from northeast Minneapolis streets since last month, according to police.
Late-model Hondas have been a favorite target in recent weeks, police say.
Police this week issued a crime alert to residents of the 2nd Precinct about the thefts, which date back to March 1. Since then, thieves have nabbed 37 vehicles of varying makes and models, according to the alert.
It read: “The way the vehicles have been taken has varied from: the vehicles were idling; there was a spare key inside the vehicle; taken as part of a home burglary; and there are some where there has been no evidence of force being used so we are unable to determine how the vehicle was stolen.”
Department spokesman John Elder said this week that police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects.
“We are asking the public if they see something to say something,” he said, adding that it was not clear whether the thefts were the work of individuals or an organized crime ring.
So far this year, the precinct has logged 82 auto thefts.
Department statistics show that the number of reported auto thefts in the precinct has jumped in recent years. There were 334 such crimes recorded in 2018 and 357 in 2017. From 2009 to 2016, the precinct logged on average about 262 car thefts per year.
While newer cars often come equipped with immobilizer systems and other features to deter thieves, police say many cars are taken when owners leave them running unattended in frosty weather.
Police are encouraging people to double-check whether they left their keys in their vehicles or to buy a steering wheel lock, and, in the event their car is stolen, to have their vehicle’s VIN and license-plate numbers handy when speaking to police.
Libor Jany • 612-673-4064 Twitter:@StribJany