Dozens involved in 'grab-and-run' thefts at Best Buys in Burnsville, Maplewood | KSTP.com

Dozens involved in 'grab-and-run' thefts at Best Buys in Burnsville, Maplewood

Brittney Ermon & KSTP
Updated: November 27, 2021 11:01 PM
Created: November 27, 2021 07:38 AM

Police are investigating two coordinated shoplifting raids that happened Friday night at Best Buy stores in the Twin Cities.

Both of the "grab-and-run" incidents happened shortly after 8 p.m. at the Best Buys in Burnsville and Maplewood.

Police estimate between 20 and 30 people ran out of the Burnsville location with stolen merchandise; another 10-12 took part in raiding "high value items" from the Maplewood store.

The Maplewood Police Department said the group of adult and juvenile suspects had left the area by the time police got to the store and that TVs, tablets and hoverboards were among the items stolen.

No injuries were reported.

Retail experts said thieves taking shoplifting to a new level could be fueled in part by the pandemic and staffing shortages.

“The pandemic and some political issues. A lot of police force has been spread very thinly over some parts of the country,” Dave Vang, University of St. Thomas retail expert, said. 

He explained the pandemic also triggered a spike in online shopping driving up demand for criminals to steal in stores.

“What's happening is a lot of this merchandise is being sold over the internet by other vendors,” he said. 

After the recent wave of flash robberies, he said online buyers need to triple check their seller is legitimate. 

“If you want to buy electronics from Best Buy, buy it from the Best Buy website. Don't buy the same thing that someone claims it's brand new, but is 30 percent or 40 percent cheaper,” Vang said. 

Both incidents remain under investigation, and Maplewood police said they are working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to identify the suspects involved. Police are also looking into whether these incidents are connected.

Best Buy provided the following statement:

"Retailers across the country are seeing spikes in crime. These incidents have been, by and large, non-violent though often traumatic for those who witnessed them. As an industry, we are working with local law enforcement and taking additional security precautions where it makes sense.

"We are also working at the federal level to pass a law that would make the online re-selling of these stolen goods much more difficult, materially reducing the incentive to commit the crimes in the first place.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Maplewood Police Department Investigative Lt. Joe Steiner by email or by calling 651-249-2608.


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