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Thieves target safes, cash in rash of Fargo area business burglaries

"Some of the safes are being cut open while others are being carried out on a dolly," a city of Fargo official said. "The suspects are in and out within four minutes or less usually."

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FARGO — Local law enforcement agencies are asking business owners to take steps to prevent break-ins after a string of dozens of commercial burglaries in the Fargo area since September.

Burglars have been targeting safes and businesses with large amounts of cash, Fargo police said. It appears burglars are using prybars to enter businesses through back doors.

In many cases, burglars "enter a business, take merchandise, exit and flee in vehicles within minutes," West Fargo police said in a statement.

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office said it's investigating four burglaries in Casselton and one in Horace that occurred in the past month.

Fargo police say they're working with the West Fargo Police Department, the Cass County Sheriff's Office and other local agencies to investigate the burglaries.

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In hopes of curbing crime, city officials are encouraging business owners to set alarms, maintain surveillance equipment, lock buildings during non-business hours, and install floodlights outside businesses, especially at entrances and exits.

Fargo City Auditor Steve Sprague sent a message to businesses Wednesday, saying that bars and restaurants have been the targets of most of the recent burglaries. He said burglars have been focusing on loose cash and safes.

"Some of the safes are being cut open while others are being carried out on a dolly. In other words, the safes are not a deterrent for these suspects. Large amounts of cash have been taken from the businesses as a result. The suspects are in and out within four minutes or less usually," Sprague wrote.

Sprague offered a list of security tips for businesses, including:

  • Do not rely on a safe. "These are not deterring suspects whatsoever and are easily breached. In fact, even the highest quality safes are being breached within a minute or two," he wrote.
  • Make cash deposits daily to limit the amount of cash on hand.
  • Talk to staff about security measures. "Although a vast majority of staff are trustworthy, it is no secret some of these burglaries have been influenced by staff members — either knowingly or unknowingly. Discussions outside of work about dollar amounts on busy shifts, cash deposits not being done, etc. can often catch the attention of someone who is willing to commit a burglary or at least know someone who will," Sprague wrote.

Anyone who sees suspicious activity is asked to report it to the Red River Regional Dispatch Center at 701-451-7660 or in the case of an emergency, dial 911.

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