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Prince and Emily Knight pose outside their garage with three of their five children. The family’s minivan, with Prince’s wallet and Emily’s purse inside, was stolen from the family’s unlocked garage in the early morning hours of Thursday, Oct. 10. (Photo by Micheal Foley)

Family’s minivan stolen from garage

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news New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

It was a typical morning for the Knight family. Prince and Emily Knight woke up and saw their kids off to school by 7 a.m. Emily didn’t even notice the family’s minivan was missing from the garage in the 300 block of North Third Street until she went to retrieve her husband’s wallet so he could leave for work.

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To make matters worse, the minivan thieves also got away with Prince’s wallet and Emily’s purse and emptied all of the couple’s bank accounts before 9 a.m.

“The bank was able to track where the transactions were coming from, and they were coming from St. Paul,” Emily said. “They were spending various amounts of money at different gas stations, like they were gas station hopping.”

The Knights got their minivan back on Tuesday, Oct. 15, when police arrested several suspects and recovered various stolen property, Emily said.

“They found it in White Bear Lake across the street from Century College,” Emily said. “We were able to pick it up on Tuesday night, and the same night we went to pick it up a whole bunch of people were arrested in the Cities.”

Though the Knights were inconvenienced by cancelling their credit cards, voiding purchases with their bank, and changing the locks for their home and vehicles, they could have done a little more to protect themselves. The garage was open and the minivan was unlocked when the thieves struck, mostly because the Knights felt secure in their small-town New Richmond neighborhood. Now, their attitude toward security has changed.

“Small towns are targeted for things like this because there are so many people who are comfortable and feel like it is safe because it is small,” Emily said.

Though he declined to comment about whether crime is up recently in the city, New Richmond Police Chief Mark Samelstad did offer some common-sense tips.

“I highly recommend that residents keep no valuables inside their cars, locked or unlocked, and to make sure their residence, including garage, is locked up at night,” Samelstad said.

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