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Dave Olson, Published January 30 2009

Fargo police see theft spree

Fargo police received reports early Thursday of stolen and burning vehicles

• 3:34 a.m.: Police find a vehicle ablaze in the 200 block of Seventh Avenue North.

• 3:40 a.m.: Police receive a report of car prowlers in the 1200 block of 45th Avenue North.

• 4:33 a.m.: Four vehicles are stolen from a fenced yard at Bret’s Painting, 1531 5th Ave. N., Fargo.

• 5:14 a.m.: A burning vehicle is found near First Avenue and 12th Street South. It’s later linked to stolen car report.

• 7 a.m.: Police recover a vehicle reported as stolen out of Moorhead.

Reports of stolen cars and burning vehicles kept Fargo police busy Thursday morning.

At least five vehicles were stolen, and two of them were later torched.

At 3:34 a.m., officers found a vehicle ablaze in the 200 block of Seventh Avenue North.

The owner was contacted and told police the vehicle had been stolen, Sgt. Mark Lykken said.

At 4:33 a.m., vehicle thefts were reported at Bret’s Painting at 1531 5th Ave. N.

Co-owner Vesna Fredrickson said two pickup trucks with plows attached were stolen along with a worker’s car.

The vehicles were taken from a fenced yard secured by a locked gate controlled by an electric code.

The gate was found unlocked when a worker arrived early in the morning, Fredrickson said.

A fourth vehicle taken from the yard was found stuck in a snowbank near the business.

Fredrickson said it appeared the thief had trouble dealing with a manual transmission.

Later in the morning police informed Fredrickson that one of the pickup trucks had been recovered, its engine still running, in an alley several blocks from the business.

Fredrickson said the truck was a bit banged up and it appeared the thieves had soaked the floor with a flammable liquid, though it was not set on fire.

Earlier, around 5:14 a.m., Fargo police found a burning vehicle in the area of First Avenue and 12th Street South.

Police linked that vehicle to a stolen car report that came in at 6:26 a.m. In that case, the vehicle was taken from 101 2nd St. S., Lykken said.

At 7 a.m., Fargo police recovered a vehicle reported stolen out of Moorhead.

Lykken said police were investigating possible links between the cases.

The vehicle thefts were just part of a busy morning for Fargo police.

Police received a report about 3:40 a.m. of car prowlers in the 1200 block of 45th Avenue North.

The suspects took off in a van before officers arrived.

Police later spotted a vehicle matching the description and stopped it.

It was apparent to officers the van contained items taken from vehicles and two 15-year-old juveniles were arrested, Lykken said.

In that case, a Forum newspaper carrier who was preparing to start on his route phoned 911 when he saw people checking car doors in his neighborhood.

The carrier said an officer later called to thank him for providing descriptions that allowed officers to identify the suspects and their vehicle.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555