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Report: Car theft prevention laws quietly ‘peeled back’ by Minnesota Legislature

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For KSTP-TV, Eric Rasmussen and Ricky Campbell report, “[Vada] Haxton’s car was one of more than 3,800 vehicles reported stolen in Minneapolis last year alone — part of a crime wave that is challenging agencies across the state trying to crack down on everything from armed carjackings to national theft rings involving catalytic converters. 5 INVESTIGATES found lawmakers anticipated a surge in auto-related thefts nearly a decade ago when they passed a law that changed how scrap yards report purchases. It included an electronic database requirement that could have helped police find Haxton’s car before it was destroyed. But a review of legislative records shows those reforms, largely opposed by the scrap industry, were quietly peeled back despite widespread support from prosecutors and law enforcement.

An MPR News story says, “St. Paul police on Thursday released edited body camera videos and images showing views of Monday’s night’s gunfire between Howard Peter Johnson and the police before an officer shot and killed him. St. Paul Police Sgt. Cody Blanshan and another officer were in their squad car helping to establish a perimeter near Earl Street and Hudson Road in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood as part of a response to a domestic assault report, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Johnson, 24, the subject of the call, allegedly tried to carjack a woman’s vehicle at gunpoint outside a business on Hudson Road, the BCA said.”

For the Strib, Stephen Montemayor says, “A Kansas City-area man pleaded guilty Thursday to helping lead a massive telemarketing scheme that Minnesota federal prosecutors have called the nation’s largest elder fraud conspiracy, with victims spanning the country. Russell ‘Rusty’ Rahm, 52, of Olathe, Kan., admitted to his role in a scheme involving 60 co-conspirators from across the United States and Canada that bilked about 183,000 victims —many of whom were elderly or otherwise vulnerable — out of $335 million.

For KARE-TV, Alexandra Simon says, “Nearly two dozen dogs are on their way to finding fur-ever homes after being rescued by the Animal Humane Society. The 22 dogs were taken from a breeder in rural Minnesota, north of the Twin Cities, after a report found there were too many dogs on the property. According to the AHS, the breeder was licensed, but their license has since been revoked by the Board of Animal Health.”

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Also at KARE, Jeremiah Jacobsen says, “ A new weekly report from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows flu activity in Minnesota remains high, though several key metrics are down from last week. According to the report released Thursday, 501 people were hospitalized in Minnesota with the flu for the week ending Dec. 3. That’s a decline of 58 hospitalizations from a week earlier. MDH said a total of 1,857 patients have been hospitalized with the flu so far this year. The department said a total of 28 deaths have been attributed to the flu so far this year, with an average age of 79 years old.”

At Patch, William Bornhoft says, “Motorists in Minnesota are seeing big relief at the pump as gas prices fall to an average of about $3.32 for a gallon for regular gas, 2 cents lower than last year at this time. Nationally, the average price for a gallon of regular gas Thursday was $3.33, down a penny from $3.34 last year, according to the AAA auto club, which tracks gas price changes and provides daily updates. The Biden administration has been drawing down the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve since spring as part of its strategy to lower gas prices … .”

At BringMeTheNews Joe Nelson and Sven Sundgaard tell us, “There are two significant storms to discuss and both will bring impacts to Minnesota. The first arrives Thursday night and is out of the area by midday Friday, though the Interstate 90 corridor and points south appear to be in line for the most snow. The second storm arrives next week and could bring beastly impacts to a very large area, though the storm track remains a wild card.”

At People, Susie Wenger writes, “Olivia Plath is getting ready to bundle up for a cold winter! On Thursday, the “Welcome to Plathville” star, 24, announced that she and her husband Ethan Plath had recently moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota. ‘Good morning from snowy and sunny Minnesota,’ she said on her Instagram Story. ‘I feel like there’s not a lot of sunny days in the winter so I’m very happy for the sun this morning but cat’s out of the bag — if you didn’t know Ethan and I moved up to the Minneapolis area a couple of weeks ago.’ ‘The past few weeks have been insane moving from Florida, trying to find an apartment, buying a new car, making this apartment look like a home,’ she added.”

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