Groups of looters hit two Best Buy stores in Minnesota’s Twin Cities just after 8:00 p.m. on Black Friday, according to reports.
One of the looting frenzies occurred at the Burnsville Best Buy, where 20-30 suspects rushed the store in a flash mob-style robbery, KSTP reported.
Burnsville Police Capt. Don Stenger said that no weapons were used in the Burnsville shoplifting incident, according to the Star Tribune. “We don’t know exactly what was taken or the dollar value,” Stenger added.
The second looting incident took place at the Maplewood Best Buy, where police say a group of ten to twelve looters, comprised of adults and juveniles, stole “high value items,” according to KSTP.
Police were told that the suspects walked into the store at the same time and worked in tandem to steal hoverboards, televisions, and tablets, among other items, the Star Tribune reports. No one was injured in either incident and as of Saturday, no suspects were arrested.
Police are investigating if the incidents are related, CBS Minnesota reported.
Best Buy released the following statement via a spokesperson regarding the looting incidents:
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.
“We can’t tolerate that kind of behavior. Just as a society, we just can’t,” said Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher during a live stream, according to CBS Minnesota.
Dave Vang, a retail specialist from St. Thomas University, weighed in on potential causes for the rise in looting.
“The pandemic and some political issues. A lot of police force has been spread very thinly over some parts of the country,” he told KSTP.
He added that the thieves sell the merchandise online at discounted rates compared to the retailers they steal from and that consumers should triple-check the legitimacy of an online seller.
“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 told KSTP.
In a separate incident, police say a man was fatally stabbed outside of a Houston Best Buy on Black Friday. The incident occurred at 6:05 p.m., and “Witnesses stated the victim and another male were seen walking together to the business and having an argument that escalated into a physical altercation in the parking lot,” according to the Houston Police Department (HPD).
“I see the guy, he hit the guy on the floor, then like he didn’t care and he hit him in his face, and then he hit him with the knife, then he walked away,” witness Beni Jaafar told Click 2 Houston.
“The suspect is described only as a black male with dreadlocks wearing a yellow, reflective traffic vest,” according to the HPD.