MINOT, N.D. – Two Minot bookstores had shoplifting incidents yesterday within hours from each other.
Minot Police said they do not have anyone in custody at this time, but believe the incidents could be related.
Nature’s Nook Children’s Toys and Books owner Deb Peery said a friend was helping her finish a children’s paint class Monday afternoon when they noticed a young woman carrying a lot of merchandise.
Peery’s friend offered to put it on the counter till she was done shopping.
“Normally our customers are like, ‘yes, take it please,’ and so this customer said, ‘no,’” said Peery.
Peery said she went to the backroom to get paper for one of the kids when she heard the door, and that’s when she knew something was off.
“Something inside of me was like, ‘that’s weird.’ So, I came into the store and it was empty,” said Peery.
Peery said the woman loaded $300 worth of items into a gray van that was backed inside a handicap spot.
Hours earlier, almost the exact same thing happened across town at Main Street Books. But this time, owner Val Stadick said the customer pretended she lost her credit card.
“She picked up her really big bag of books and started walking out the door, and I say hey wait you can’t walk out the door with those books,” said Stadick.
There are about five cameras at Main Street Books, but that didn’t stop the thief from walking right out the front door. Again, the culprit got away with roughly $300 worth of merchandise.
Both store owners took down the license plate number and called the police who said the shoplifters could be working as a team.
“High likelihood that it is the same people involved in the two and if they’ve done it twice unless something scares them off they’ll probably target another business,” said Minot Police Chief John Klug.
It comes at an important time of the year for local stores. Both owners said they were just starting to see more business from people wanting to shop local.
Stadick said the incident is a sign of the times.
“I don’t know what her story was, but people are hurting. they are desperate to do that to a small business owner in the middle of the day in broad day light,” said Stadick.
The shoplifting incidents are still under investigation.
Both suspects are described as women in their early 20s.
If you have any information call Minot Police at 701-852-0111.