Charges: Craigslist swap at Wal-Mart turns into a robbery, shots fired

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Two men have been charged in connection with a Craigslist swap  in Shakopee that turned into an attempted robbery earlier this week.

Mohamed Mohamud Hassan, 21, of Eden Prairie and Abdimalik Ahmed Aden, 20, of Minneapolis will will be charged with robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon, Shakopee Valley News reports.

Those charges, WCCO says, could land the men in prison for up to 10 and seven years respectively.

The incident happened Tuesday at the Wal-Mart on Carriage Court. Police say the suspects and a victim met up in the store's entrance area. The victim was selling a cellphone. Then they went to the parking lot, that's when one suspect is said to have grabbed the phone and started running.

The victim chased after him, but then the suspect turned around and pulled out a gun, pointing it at the victim, Police Chief Jeff Tate told BringMeTheNews.

The victim – who had a license to carry – pulled out his own gun and fired at the suspects. But the suspects fled in a gray or silver Chevrolet Venture.

Meanwhile, the Wal-Mart had been put on lockdown for 10-20 minutes, according to police and a Wal-Mart spokesperson.

On Wednesday, the Shakopee Police Department posted on Facebook that they had two suspects in custody and that the case will be referred to the Scott County Attorney's Office for charging.

Shakopee Valley News says Aden admitted he stole the phone from the victim but denied having a gun on him.

Safe spaces for online trades

At the end of its Facebook post, the Shakopee Police Department notes it is a designated Craigslist transaction location – and has been for years, Tate said.

"This is exactly why we have the program, for this very reason," he told BringMeTheNews. "There's no reason to meet in a parking lot of any store."

Often times, public places like parking lots are used for Craigslist trades.

Aaron Mullins, a spokesperson with Wal-Mart, told BringMeTheNews Wal-Mart has a solicitation policy for any transaction, including those proposed online: "Basically, anything that's going to be bought or sold on property, you need to have permission from management first," he said.

Tate said Shakopee PD's swap spot is used frequently – it's located in the parking lot, in an area that's under direct surveillance from a camera.

He said Tuesday's incident is a "perfect example" of why they and other law enforcement offices have such programs, and want to keep getting the word out about them.

Swap spots have been popping up in recent years, as a protected space for people who connected online to buy or sell things, the Better Business Bureau says.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office launched some last summer, where a deputy can be present if requested. Otherwise they're just in the lobby of the three sheriff's office buildings, open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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