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Dave Olson, Published December 24 2012

Burglary suspect targeted snowbirds’ homes

FARGO – Fargo police say a West Fargo man has been arrested in connection with a theft operation that targeted snowbirds and netted at least $100,000 in goods, some of them high-end.

A bassoon valued at $20,000 was among the items recovered, said Fargo police Lt. Joel Vettel, who said the case came to light last Friday afternoon when officers made a welfare check on a female living in an apartment in the 1900 block of 21st Ave. S.

While there, officers found a man hiding in a closet who was wanted on an outstanding warrant from another county, Vettel said.

A search warrant was executed and numerous stolen items were found that Vettel said have been linked to burglaries in Fargo and Moorhead as well as in Wahpeton and Minnesota’s Becker County.

In addition to the bassoon, other items recovered include violins, a saxophone, a trombone and a xylophone, Vettel said.

Stolen electronic equipment and jewelry were also recovered, he said.

Nicholas James Pulkrabek, 34, of West Fargo, was arrested on suspicion of possessing stolen property and possessing drug paraphernalia, Vettel said.

Investigators believe the string of thefts came from properties targeted because it appeared no one had been home for some time, Vettel said. Homes with sidewalks and driveways that were not shoveled were hit, as were buildings that remained dark for long periods of time.

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