Stores across the metro are being forced to find creative solutions to the problem of crime.
Customers at the Holiday gas station near Hopkins Crossroad and Cedar Lake Road in Minnetonka will notice a sign that reads: “Maximum of 2 unaccompanied minors permitted in at a time.” The sign also says no minors are allowed in the store during school hours.
The owner of the gas station said she has limited the number of groups allowed inside during the summer months to two. Backpacks are also not allowed.
“There has been an extreme amount of theft that has occurred,” she said. “There’s been a couple instances, very scary moments because they’re coming in groups of six to 10. I’ve been threatened on multiple occasions.”
Most of the thieves are kids stealing candy bars and other small items, according to the owner. She said she hasn’t called the cops on any of the shoplifters but has asked police to swing by more often.
“I didn’t want to call the cops repetitively over stolen candy bars but nothing made me comfortable,” she said. That’s when the owner decided to talk to corporate and came up with the idea of limiting the number of minors and people inside the store.
Since putting the signs up, theft has dropped “immensely,” according to the owner. She said with fewer people in the store, staff have been able to communicate and slowly build relationships with the responsible parties.
“I’m a firm believer in communication,” she said. “One kid even came in and said he understood he was out of control.”
Signs of the times. Seen in the suburbs the past two weeks. pic.twitter.com/UYpxvTuWMA
— Blois Olson (@bloisolson) July 13, 2022
Minnetonka experienced a 28% increase in property crimes between 2019 and 2021, including a 9% increase in retail theft, according to the city’s annual crime report.