Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Some time between 3:30 and 5:30 Sunday morning, May 17, Son of a Butcher Bar & Grill (S.O.B.) was burglarized in what appears to be the latest in a rash of similar burglaries in central Minnesota. The phone line to the bar was cut. Some time later, the burglars pried open the wooden back door. Once inside, they pried open the jukebox and the dartboard machine, stealing the money inside. They pried open the safe door on the main floor, not realizing that it was decorative only and that only a wall was behind it. They pried open the door to the basement where they found another vault. (The S.O.B. building was formerly a bank that had two vaults.) Inside the basement vault, which they forced open, was owner Matt Knaus' office. They stole a desktop computer and a laptop computer from the office, along with pulltab money from the safe. Kimball police chief Jim Frilstad was on duty Saturday night, until 3:55 a.m. Sunday. His last pass of the back door of S.O.B. was at 2:50 a.m., at which time everything was okay. Frilstad is also investigating the Kimball burglary, taking photos and fingerprints, and working with Stearns County, which is involved in several other similar crimes. The S.O.B. burglary is apparently the most recent in a string of similar burglaries within the past month that include businesses in Benton County, Morrison County, golf courses in Paynesville and Cold Spring, two bars in Farming, and a hardware store in Zimmerman. Stearns County Detective Steve Soyka believes them to be related, as the criminals used the same methods, starting with cutting the phone lines. While local police are investigating each of these burglaries, Soyka is in communication with all of them and can help conduct interviews. Cutting phone lines first will often disable alarm systems. Many local businesses, though, have a cell phone back-up system. If you are a business owner and are not sure, it is recommended that you call your alarm company to find out. (In the case of the Tri-County News, for example, the cost is $250 for the extra equipment, plus an additional $10 per month for monitoring.) There are no suspects yet in any of these burglaries. However, video from one of the crimes clearly shows two male suspects. There is no pattern to the timing of the burglaries, as they have been committed both weekends and weekdays. If anyone has any information, or thinks they may have seen something suspicious, they should call the Kimball Police, Stearns County dispatch or CrimeStoppers.