The City of Independence recently approved their first quarter financial report and received a presentation from Gary Kroells from West Hennepin Public Safety.

According to Mark Kaltsas, city planner, new voting booths were purchased in order to help service the upcoming election. The previous booths have been around for over a decade and the new booths are needed, he said.

Kroells then provided the council information on what activity and incidents have happened in April in May. He said that Independence had 354 incidents in April and 339 incidents in May.

“April wasn’t a really high criminal month for us, which is good. I think it was more high traffic,” he said.

April incidents Kroells reviewed included residents experiencing fraudulent activity on a resident’s Domino’s account, a Paypal phone scam and a case of identity theft. The resident had a credit card opened in their name and had $3,200 charged to Walmart on it. The case is currently under investigation.

“Pay attention to your online banking and your credit cards because people are taking your number and information,” he said.

Kroells said he also tries to talk to residents who call in with complaints related to shooting and hunting. Calls come in where residents are complaining of shooting taking place in their neighborhoods. Kroells explains that target shooting is allowed in the city as well as hunting.

“As we get more people coming to Independence, they find that very shocking, that people can just shoot and hunt in our area. It’s a great educational point. I try to answer the phone calls just to further educate our residents,” he said.

May was a little busier on the criminal side, Kroells points out, adding he believes it’s due to the nicer weather. Along with a few DUIs, there have been three crashes at the railroad bridge on Highway 12. MnDOT is also working to help identify why drivers are hitting the same spot repeatedly.

A resident’s home was burglarized while the homeowners were asleep between the time of 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. A vehicle was left unlocked in the driveway and the garage door was open. The burglars entered the home and stole a laptop and backpack, which was later found in a creek with the laptop included; however, a wallet and credit cards were missing.

Kroells said the suspect used the card at a local McDonalds. Police were able to get a surveillance photo of the suspect and found they were driving a stolen car from Orono.

“They’re not breaking or smashing windows,” he said. “You can prevent it by locking your car and taking your valuables out and lock the doors inside.”

Kroells also urges residents to talk with their families about a plan for action of it should occur in their homes or cars. He also urges residents to call as soon as they hear something or notice something even if it’s 2 a.m.

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