Troy Molde's two sons and two nephews were having a slumber party in their Lakeville living room Wednesday when two new guests knocked on the back door: a pair of Lakeville cops.
"It's 3 in the morning and I was sleeping," Molde said.
Police were patrolling the Moldes' neighborhood and had seen the garage door and a back door open. And when they realized the front door was unlocked, the keys were in the car's ignition, and there were kids inside, they feared the worst.
"They had to check from a health and welfare point check and make sure those kids were okay," said Lakeville Police Chief Tom Vonhof.
The officers rang the doorbell and got no answer. Then they opened the door and announced they were in the house. With no response, the police walked upstairs and found Troy asleep in bed.
"I woke up to them pounding on the wall with flashlights in my face," Troy said. "(They said) 'Lakeville police!' and that's when I got up and said, 'What's going on?'"
It turns out nothing was going on, except that Troy had forgotten to shut the garage and lock his doors, but police say they worried. A third of Lakeville's residential burglaries occur because of open garage doors, and just last month, a man in nearby Burnsville was murdered during a break in. That's why Vonhof says his officers did the right thing, not knowing if the Moldes were in danger.
"We can't have that," Vonhof said. "We have to determine everything's alright."
Today, the family is alright, but Troy says he feels violated, grateful police are protective, but feeling they went too far.
"If that boundary is crossed, what do we do?" Molde said. "Because if it's crossed with me, it can be crossed with anybody."
Molde says he hasn't ruled out legal action, but met with a Lakeville police officer last night to discuss what happened.
Lakeville police say they'll continue to leave notices on unsecured homes, saying burglaries in the city have dropped in the past year since they started reminding residents to be more careful.
(Copyright 2008 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)