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Sheriff's office warns of fish house break-ins

As area residents know, ice fishing is popular this time of year – but so are ice house break-ins.

In a media release sent out Thursday, Feb. 8, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office stated that in the past few weeks, deputies have responded to several fish house break-ins, thefts and damage to property complaints on various lakes, including Lake Brophy, Freeborn Lake, Lake Mary, Lake Darling and Lake Le Homme Dieu.

“It’s not uncommon to have a rash of them,” said Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen. “The occurrence itself we don’t have all the time but when it does happen, it happens to several.”  

The release states that suspects have forced their way into the ice houses in search of items. In the Lake Darling break-ins, deputies were able to locate tracks from two suspects who used a pickup truck to travel between fish houses.

“We’re always listening to what we hear out there,” Wolbersen said. “We are actively investigating them (the break-ins) but help from the public will be big.”

Wolbersen says that any unusual or late night activity on lakes should be reported.

“People that live on the lake, if they see what they think is unusual activity and call us, we will definitely check it out,” he said. “A lot of people are not fishing at midnight or 2 a.m., so if you see lights, especially lights moving house to house, it’s worth reporting.”

One place for theft victims to watch for their items to surface is on the Facebook swap and shop sites, according to Wolbersen.

The sheriff’s office asks that members of the public do not approach suspects and instead report suspicious activity to law enforcement at 320-762-8151. It is recommended that any valuable items are not left in unoccupied fish houses and that fish houses are locked when left.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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