The fear is still fresh for a family of five in Big Lake.

"Went into the house. Went upstairs where my daughter was sleeping," said Amanda Winkelman.

She says someone used a garage door opener in her husbands unlocked car to enter her home and steal several items inside.

All while the family was sleeping.

"Oh it's scary. Not the fact that they took my stuff, my children were there. They could have taken my daughter and I wouldn't have known," said
Winkelman.

"What's really unusual about this is can't say I've seen in my career, is they're entering occupied homes while people are in them," said Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf.

He walked us through video of a similar incident in Otsego last week.

"Start looking for a garage door opener," said Scharf watching the video. "If the car was locked they'd move to the next residence."

Police believe these burglars now appear to have struck nearly two dozen Minnesota communities.

"Homeowners are wondering what we can do to protect our homes or try to deter these people," said Chief Scharf.

He took to Facebook this week to highlight security systems he says are worth the investment.

"They're easy to place. They're motion based. As soon as they detect motion, light comes on, camera is on and alerts that there's motion out front," said Scharf.

He says homeowners should also lock up.

"Biggest take back is make sure your vehicle is locked. Caution you leaving the garage door opener in vehicles outside and get into a routine," said
Scharf.

Amanda has made a purchase already.

"Get cameras in house. We changed all our locks," said Winkelman.

She hopes that gives her some peace of mind going forward.