FREEBORN COUNTY, Minn. - Two teens were taken into custody Sunday after a report of suspicious behavior.
The Albert Lea Police Department said a reporting party observed fresh footprints in the snow near a garage.
The investigation led an officer to observe similar footprints near a Minnesota Ave. residence. That led to the arrests of the two teens, ages 14 and 16, both of whom are male. At the time of his arrest, the 16-year-old had 10 outstanding warrants dating back many years for a wide range of offenses from theft to drug possession to fleeing a peace officer.
"If it was an adult, that's pretty substantial. As a juvenile, that's substantial, but who knows. Juvenile crimes and how they're held accountable is much different than being an adult," Albert Lea Director of Public Safety JD Carlson said.
The two are suspected to be involved with “countless thefts.”
“The majority of the suspected thefts were crimes of opportunity - victims’ property was unsecure,” police said. Carlson advises residents to turn their home and vehicles into so-called "hard targets" by locking doors and windows, and keeping valuables out of sight.
"The majority of these things - what they're doing is roaming the neighborhood, lifting door handles, turning doorknobs. If it's unlocked, they're stealing your stuff. If it's locked, they're going to their next potential victim."
Both suspects were taken to the Anoka County juvenile facility.