Two Minneapolis Best Buys Robbed On Black Friday As ‘Flash Mob’ Thievery Spreads Beyond California
LEVITTOWN, NEW YORK - MARCH 16: An image of the sign for Best Buy as photographed on March 16, 2020 in Levittown, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On Black Friday, two Best Buy stores were robbed in Minnesota.

For the past several weeks, major metropolitan areas — especially San Francisco and other California cities — have witnessed large groups of people carry out smash-and-grab robberies. Indeed, Black Friday saw a wave of group thefts across the United States.

CBS Minnesota reported:

The Burnsville Police Department says that a group of 20 to 30 people entered a Best Buy location near Burnsville Center shortly after 8 p.m., stole electronics and fled before police arrived. No one in the group displayed a weapon and no injuries were reported. So far, no arrests have been made, and it’s unclear how much merchandise was stolen from the store.

Maplewood police say that 10 to 12 adults and children stole “multiple high value items” at a Best Buy near Maplewood Mall around 8:10 p.m. They were gone by the time police arrived on scene. Maplewood officials say that televisions, tablets, and hoverboards were stolen, and are working to assess whether the group is connected to other thefts in the metro.

The thefts come days after Best Buy chief executive Corie Barry expressed concern that retail thefts in California stores will provoke employees to quit.

“These are traumatic experiences, and they are happening more and more across the country,” Barry told CNBC, adding that California cities represent “hot spots” for the thefts.

“When we talk about why there are so many people looking for other jobs or switching careers, this of course would be something that would play into my concerns for our people because, again, priority one is just human safety,” she said. “And it’s hard to deal with this potentially multiple times in one location.”

Also on Black Friday, a Home Depot in Lakewood, California, was robbed by a group of teenagers. The suspects reportedly arrived in several cars, donned ski masks, and stole sledgehammers, hand hammers, and crowbars before fleeing the scene.

“We’re currently working with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to see if there is a link to the Lakewood Home Depot incident or any other crimes that have been committed,” Beverly Hills Police Sergeant Jeff Newman told local news.

B8ta — a San Francisco software store — is paying $30,000 per month to retain a security force. Chief executive Vibhu Norby told the San Francisco Chronicle that the security costs amount to more than the store pays its approximately five employees.

“We’re an unprofitable venture-backed company, and we have been since day one,” Norby told the outlet. “It’s something that most businesses can’t afford, but we can.”

Earlier this week, former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey warned that the recent “flash mob” thievery trend would expand beyond California.

“This is something now that I really unfortunately think is going to spread,” Ramsey said. “Right now it’s in California, but it will spread, there’s no question about it.”

“I don’t know what’s driving all this, but it is of concern and it will continue,” he added. “It is not going to stop any time soon.”

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