Tuesday, July 5th, 2022

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More than 20 people decided to go shopping at a Best Buy store in Burnsville on Black Friday. The problem is they didn’t want to pay for the merchandise.

According to Burnsville police, a horde of two dozen people descended on Best Buy around 8 p.m. Friday and began grabbing merchandise, fleeing the store without paying.

Burnsville police Capt. Don Stenger told The Star Tribune that all the thieves were gone before police arrived. Best Buy hasn’t yet provided an inventory of everything stolen.

As of Saturday morning, no arrests had been made.

Under Minnesota law, concealing or taking store property without permission is still considered a crime. If the property value is less than $500, thieves could get 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the value of the items taken is $500 to $5,000, the shoplifter could face one to five years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.

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Across the country, police departments are reporting shoplifters taking advantage of the Black Friday frenzy to slip away with merchandise without paying.

The trend in grab-and-go crimes is being attributed to false reports that California was no longer prosecuting shoplifters under Proposition 47 passed in 2014, reclassifying felony theft offenses as misdemeanors.

Viral video posted on social media showed two people walking out of a T.J. Maxx in Granada Hills, California, carrying duffle bags filled with merchandise and clothing still on the hangers draped across their arms with no attempt by store security to stop them.

Word spread that people could walk into a store and steal merchandise worth less than $950 without police challenging them or arresting them.

 

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That’s actually not true, according to Alex Bastian, special adviser to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón who co-authored Proposition 47. Most shoplifting was already prosecuted as a misdemeanor in California, just as it is in Minnesota.

The proposition just increased the dollar amount stolen for what constitutes a misdemeanor and a felony from $400 to

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