Authorities seek help from the public
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Department and Columbia Heights Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance in helping solve the case of a home invasion that occurred Wednesday, June 5, in the northern suburb.
Earlier this week there had been no status change in the case and that it “remains an active investigation,” according to Lt. Daniel Douglas of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the preliminary investigation, four, possibly five black males forced their way into a Columbia Heights home on the 4500 block of Madison Street Northeast and demanded money from the residents – an 87-year-old man, and his 89-year-old wife.
Douglas said the four men “divided up and did the divide and conquer thing – they flooded the house.”
In addition to confronting the homeowners, the suspects also found their 58-year-old son in another part of the home and moved him to where he could see his parents being confronted by a man with a semi-automatic pistol.
Douglas also indicated it didn’t that the victims recognized the suspects.
“The suspects weren’t calling them by name and the victims didn’t know them by voice,” he said. “It didn’t seem like they knew them.”
As to the exact number of assailants, Douglas said, “We’re still not sure. In the chaos and emotional trauma, the middle of the night, it’s difficult to say whether it was four or five.”
Douglas also couldn’t say whether this home invasion is tied to any others that may have occurred in Anoka County, nor was he able to confirm that this case had any connections to the case in the city of Crystal last December where a 99-year-old man and his wife were assaulted during a home invasion.
“It seems every few years we get a case and we can’t say for sure if this is random or not,” Douglas said. “More often than not, it’s a case where the suspects have gotten the wrong house. They may have thought someone lived in a house somewhere and they thought someone had a large amount of money, but it was simply the wrong house.”
As it turned out, there was not a large amount of cash anywhere in the house, though the suspects did eventually leave with a television, a cell phone and a wallet, which contained a little cash, Douglas said.
During the invasion, one of the suspects struck the homeowner with his pistol, an injury for which the elderly resident was later treated.
In addition to continuing the investigation into the identities of the suspects, investigators also obtained a picture from the Minnesota Department of Transportation of what appears to be a green SUV.
“We couldn’t identify the vehicle,” Douglas said, indicating it could have been a Ford Explorer or GMC Envoy. “It appears to be green, but sometimes the light gets distorted in those pictures. We do not know the year or make of that vehicle.”
To that end, Douglas said investigators are turning to the public for any information that could help them in their investigation.
To report any information to police, Douglas said individuals may call the Anoka County Sheriff’s Department at 763-427-1212, or the Columbia Heights Police Department at 763-706-8100.