Retailers in Burnsville and Maplewood were targeted Friday by “large groups” of criminals who made off with stolen merchandise before police arrived, according to reports.
A Best Buy in Burnsville was robbed by a group of up to 30 people, according to a report from the Crime Watch network. A Maplewood Best Buy was hit by a smaller group of thieves.
After 8 p.m., Report of "large groups" hitting retail stores with "mass thefts" this evening in Burnsville and Maplewood.
Burnsville had 30 people rummage TVs from Best Buy.
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) November 27, 2021
Police confirmed these reports with WCCO, who reported that the suspects fled before police arrived.
Burnsville Police confirm to @WCCO that a group of 20-30 people robbed a Best Buy store near Burnsville Center mall around 8pm this evening. All of the suspects fled before police arrived. Police say no weapons were involved; unclear how much was taken.
— Nick Streiff (@nickstreiff) November 27, 2021
These brazen acts of criminality fit with a national trend of “flash-mob thefts,” which have been concentrated in California’s Bay Area and Los Angeles. In the suburbs of Chicago, 14 people were caught on video robbing an estimated $120,000 worth of merchandise from a Louis Vuitton store in under a minute.
“This is something now that I really unfortunately think is going to spread,” he said. “Right now it’s in California, but it will spread, there’s no question about it.”