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Police: Homeless camp too hostile to immediately retrieve man’s stolen trailer

Minneapolis Police say their officers have been "attacked" at the camp called Near North that was recently served an eviction notice.

MINNEAPOLIS — A local electrician says someone stole his trailer that was full of tools costing upwards of $20,000.

Jerry Yang also says he knows where it is and yet, he can't get to it.

Yang is asking the Minneapolis Police Department and the city for help because his business is his livelihood.

Yang has worked as an electrician for 12 years and recently started his own business. He has a marked truck and a black trailer that he discovered missing on Monday. 

"I got to the job site around 6:30 in the morning and the trailer was gone," said Yang. "My heart just basically dropped."

Yang said it had been stolen from outside a job site in north Minneapolis, but in a bizarre twist, he was able to find it again about a half-mile away.

He was led to what's called the "Near North" homeless encampment, thanks to a tracking device he installed in it. But even after filing a report, he says Minneapolis Police can't help him get the trailer back just yet. 

"They warn you not to go into it, basically saying it's a high crime area," said Yang. "I wish they could put a little more pressure on it."

The camp sits on city property and has been around a couple years. It has been served eviction notices in the past, but on Monday a police spokesperson said officers were attacked.

A new eviction notice is now posted and dated the end of June. 

"The criminals there know that they can walk away and do whatever they want and know the cops aren't going to enforce the law in that area," said Yang. "It just makes me feel helpless and people in the community feel helpless."

That same police spokesperson says, "It's not that we're unwilling to help, we just have to find the right time and circumstances to do it. He added that officers have to "be creative and get the job done with the least amount of force." 

Both police and Yang recognize that the risk right now may be too much. 

"Even if I was to retrieve it back, I'm pretty sure everything is gone," said Yang, who's hopeful insurance will cover his losses.

Police also admit this is not a perfect solution and that they're working to clear out the encampment, but have to follow certain requirements that include making resources available to the people there.

Friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to support Jerry and his family.

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