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UPDATE: Council approves grant for DPD to hire Auto Theft Investigator

DULUTH, MN — Duluth Police are getting a big grant to help stop people from stealing cars.

That after the approval by the Duluth City Council Monday night.

“We’ve seen an increasing trend of auto thefts starting in 2016,” Lt. Jeff Kazel says.

From 2016 to 2017 alone, the city saw those numbers increase by nearly 100, and this year, Police say they’re on pace to investigate more than 200 car theft cases.

“The number is consistent with about the 2017 number, which is the highest number,” Kazel says.

That’s why police say the approval of the more than $200,000 state grant could be key in preventing these thefts from happening.

“We want to reduce the number of auto thefts and also increase the number of auto thefts that are recovered,” Kazel says.

The department plans to move forward in hiring an auto theft investigator to focus specifically on stolen cars.

The grant money would go toward salary, along with travel, training, and equipment expenses.

“They would be signed to the property financial crimes unit,” Kazel says “It would be a proactive position so that we would be having this person follow up on cases that involve auto thefts”

Even with the potential of adding this investigator, police urge the public to always be wary, lock car doors, and keep valuables out of plain view.

Police say they plan to hire an investigator in September.

That person would work for the department until June 2021.

Gamiel Hall

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