Police Raid Maple Grove Airbnb Party, Seize High-Powered Guns
An investigation into stolen credit cards led Ramsey County Sheriff investigators to discover illegal firearms at a Maple Grove Airbnb.
More than 50 people, many of them minors, left the party Saturday night as law enforcement officials detained one 17-year-old suspect. He used the rental to throw his birthday party despite it violating the host and platform’s policies.
“A few days prior to this incident, there was a theft from a work vehicle and credit cards were taken. The suspect was also photographed by a neighbor as he was leaving the scene,” said Mike Martin, undersheriff with the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect was tracked through his purchases with the stolen cards in Shoreview and Lino Lakes. Members of the carjacking and auto theft team identified him through surveillance footage.
According to Undersheriff Martin, law enforcement officials were able to locate the suspect from his social media activity. They witnessed him and other juveniles engaged in behavior violating Airbnb policies.
On Monday the suspect was charged in a juvenile petition relating to stolen credit cards. He has not yet been charged with anything in regards to the party or the illegal firearms found in the home.
“While clearing the house the deputies discovered 11 hidden and abandoned handguns. Some were in backpacks and purses. Others were hidden in unfinished walls, over furnaces, behind TVs and, couches,” the Sheriff’s Office stated on Facebook.
Seven of the guns were equipped with auto-sears or “switches.” These change semi-automatic pistols into fully automatic weapons. One of the guns was privately manufactured, also known as a ghost gun, making them difficult to track.
No other individuals from the party were charged. Several of the attendees however were on probation and may be violated for their behavior.
The sheriff’s office is running tests on the confiscated firearms. This will uncover whether they’ve been used for any past shootings or homicides.
Study: Short-term Rentals Linked to Higher Crime
Officials confirmed that the suspect’s mother rented the home for her son’s birthday party. They also stated that she may face charges for her actions as she possibly endangered the lives of several young people.
“The mother of the primary suspect did rent out the Airbnb, obviously under false pretenses, and we are exploring whether or not there are charges that we can place related to that,” Martin said.
Earlier this year, a fatal shooting took place inside a rental property in Plymouth. The home was a VRBO rental, an Airbnb competitor, but the host quickly took down the listing after the tragedy occurred. Residents in the neighborhood asked officials to revoke the home’s rental license.
Undersheriff Martin stated that these Airbnb parties are all too common, especially those with teens who have taken up the rentals as an alternative to hotel parties of the past.
“I don’t think there’s a suburb that hasn’t had an incident involving an Airbnb and that’s why the suburbs now are really cracking down on the licensing for these,” he said. “If they find out that someone knowingly is renting these out for these type of disruptive parties then they’re going after their license.”
A study by Northeastern University found that more Airbnb’s in a neighborhood “contributes to higher rates of crime in an area.”
Cities across the country such as New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco have worked to regulate Airbnb rentals mainly for fear of rising housing costs.
Minneapolis and St. Paul introduced short-term rental regulations in 2017 ahead of the 2018 Super Bowl. In 2022, Minneapolis limited Airbnb hosts to one short-term rental property in addition to their homesteaded property.
Abdi Mohamed reporting