Video catches aspiring north Minneapolis burglars in the act

Jon Jorstad sent Fox 9 News a video that apparently shows three young men trying to burglarize his north Minneapolis home in the Victory Neighborhood just before 7 p.m. last Thursday.

The video shows three young men walk around the side of Jorstad's home on the 3800 block of Washburn Ave. N. while looking around repeatedly to make sure the coast is clear. Eventually, the wannabe burglars cut a screen and break a window apparently in hopes of gaining entry to the home, but Jorstad credits a deadbolt lock with preventing them from entering. (Watch the video, broken into two parts, at the top of this post.)

See also -- Facebook cracks burglary case in Victory Neighborhood

Eventually, the three walk away before driving off empty-handed.

Jorstad says his home was hit by burglars in February 2013, prompting him to install security cameras on the property.

"They took a lot of stuff, like wedding pictures and pictures of my children on my laptop," he says. "Everything except the pictures can be replaced."

Jorstad says his garage has also been a repeated target of burglars. He says the problem is endemic in his neighborhood.

"It's just incredible how long this has been going on, and frankly, it's disgusting," he says. "[Thursday's incident] happened right after work, when people are coming home or going out to eat. It's pretty bold."

Jorstad didn't even notice he was the victim of an attempted burglary until Friday, when he saw tracks in the snow along the side of his house, then noticed the screen had been cut.

He says he was away grocery shopping at the time.

"They smashed that window, reached in and unlocked the first lock, but I also had a deadbolt lock that prevented them from getting in," he says, adding that he believes he saw one of the men in the video walking around his neighborhood on Friday.

"I posted the video on the Victory Facebook page and one of the residents from Vincent Ave. recognized two of the characters in the video," Jorstad says. "Police said they would turn it over to their investigators who would be able to blow it up and enhance the photos."

So far, he hasn't heard any word from cops about arrests being made.

We touched base with Tim Hammett, Minneapolis crime prevention specialist for the Victory Neighborhood area, to get his perspective on the robbery problem in that part of North.

Hammett says Victory's burglary numbers last year were in line with 2013, and are down this January compared to 2014.

The numbers are also way down from where they were in 2008, when there were 139 burglaries in the neighborhood. Last year, there were 55.

Hammett cautions, however, that "burglary tends to be a fairly volatile category and so these numbers can jump around quite a bit."

Asked about what might explain the big drop, Hammett jokes, "I'd like to say it's because of the excellent crime prevention work that I do."

But seriously, he says, "I give a lot of credit to the community itself... I think the neighborhood is fairly well attuned to what's going on. It's a pretty close neighborhood and neighbors tend to know each other and look out for each other, and they're not shy about calling 911."

With regard to Jorstad's case in particular, Hammett says, "It's important to note that these particular burglars didn't get into that property because the homeowner himself has taken some good measures in terms of home security."

"A really, really common way for a burglar to break into a house is to turn the thumb on a deadbolt lock, but [Jorstad] had a double-cylinder deadbolt lock, which is a good idea if you have a lock that's vulnerable in that way," Hammett adds. "Also, after they failed to [open the lock], they cut a screen and tried to remove a window, but the window was locked at the time they left the house. Another really common way for burglars to break in is to find an unlocked window and test it to see if it's locked and go right in, so they're practicing some good home security habits."