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Rash of car prowls, garage burglaries has at least one happy ending

Cloquet Police Officer Scott Beckman can look forward to at least one homemade thank-you card next week.

The card was created by 10-year-old Brianna Demers, whose bike was stolen last week during a rash of car prowls and garage burglaries.

Demers' mother, Brenda Port, said her daughter was devastated when the bike was stolen.

"The dog was growling around 1:30 a.m. but I ignored it," Port said. "My mistake. The next day we woke up and the garage door was up, the gate was open and Brianna's bike was gone. It was a pretty bad day for her."

However, less than 12 hours later, the youngster had her bike back, thanks to Officer Beckman, who discovered the bike abandoned in a yard a few blocks from Port's house.

"It was huge for her that he took the time to drive around and try to find the bike for her," Port said. "Things like that are what make the difference."

Deputy Police Chief Terry Hill said police caught two juveniles in connection with the car prowls and garage burglaries: one was lodged at Arrowhead Juvenile Center and the other was released to his or her parents.

Hill said most of the crimes were "crimes of opportunity" rather than actual break-ins.

"A lot of times in cases like this, people will look for unlocked car doors and/or an open garage and they will take any valuables that are left in the car," he said. "We encourage people to lock their garages and their vehicles."

Police are still investigating the case.

Also last week:

• An 18-year-old male was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike at approximately 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10, at the intersection of Highway 45 and Highway 33. According to witnesses, the victim crossed the intersection against the light before he was hit. However, he received only minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the accident scene. No criminal charges are expected as a result of the accident.

• Cloquet police officers assisted in a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 11, on Interstate 35 that resulted in the Minnesota State Highway Patrol confiscating more than 20 pounds of marijuana. That incident is still under investigation.