A coordinated crime spree that hit several Twin Cities Best Buy stores on Black Friday netted the thieves more than $26,000 worth of merchandise.
Now, six people face criminal charges in connection with the mass thefts on Nov. 26 at the Maplewood, Blaine and Burnsville Best Buy locations. In the headline-grabbing incidents, a large group of suspects descended on each store that afternoon, then walked out with TVs, tablets, hoverboards and other electronics, jumping into waiting cars in order to flee the scene.
Read more [Dec. 1, 2021]: Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys
A group of thieves also struck at the Richfield Dick’s Sporting Goods that day.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, in a statement announcing the charges Friday, called the series of incidents a “brazen act by an organized group" during the busy holiday season.
“Bringing these individuals to justice sends a message that this type of activity will not be tolerated," he said.
Choi's office charged four adults with one count each of felony theft:
- Raymone Wright, 22, of Minneapolis
- Nathaniel Spears, 27, of Albany
- Shaimee Robinson-Love, 18, of Bloomington
- Na’Touri Ross, 19, of Minneapolis
Prosecutors also charged two 17-year-old with theft via juvenile petition, alleging they were involved in the crime spree.
Authorities say the value of the items stolen from the Best Buys eclipsed $26,000. More people were involved in the robbery wave, but the attorney's office said it doesn't have enough identifying information to charge anyone else at this time.
The criminal complaints filed Friday say Wright, Spears and Robinson-Love all entered the Maplewood store without a mask on. Authorities were able to identify them through surveillance video, and comparing their outfits that day to clothing seen in other images.
Ross had a mask on, but a wig and "distinct" pants and shoes helped authorities to them, according to the charges.
The criminal complaint says a tipster notified authorities of Facebook activity by Wright, in which they were bragging about retail thefts and showing off various high-priced items on a Facebook Live stream related to the page "Run Outs by Ralai."
The page had the following post, the charges state:
"This is a lifestyle and I’m proud to say I’m the first certified booster with a LLC. Run Outs by Ralai offer the best boosting service in Minnesota. We are planning to expand this year to offer shipping services to other states as well but for now it’s local and we are getting everything y’all need (clothes, shoes, food, housing supplies, and many more) NO STORE IS TOO BIG NO STORE IS TO [sic] SMALL RUN OUTS BY RALAI WILL DUST THEM ALL."
The page also touted a "hiring event" for those who wanted to be part of the team during the "overbooked" holiday period, according to the complaint.
Officers went to Wright's address and saw a Ford Edge they knew was involved in the thefts, so had it towed. While there, Wright came out to ask why, and officers explained it was involved in the retail thefts, the charges state. Wright admitted being there but denied being involved, according to the complaint, then disagreed with investigators' characterization she had been helping to organize it.
Wright then refused to speak to police unless they were guaranteed to avoid felony charges, according to the complaint.
In the Ford, authorities found an anti-theft device like the ones Best Buy uses, the charges state.
Spears is in custody and has a court date for Feb 15. Warrants are out for the other three adults facing charges, Choi's office said.