Maple Grove ‘Airbnb becomes machine gunBNB,’ sheriff’s office says after 11 guns found at 17-year-old’s birthday party

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Stolen credit cards from Shoreview led Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies to a suspect who was celebrating his 17th birthday at a house party in Maple Grove, where deputies said they found 11 handguns hidden in the home.

Seven of the guns had a “switch,” which is put on a handgun to make it fully automatic, said Undersheriff Mike Martin on Monday. “… When you pull the trigger, it basically dumps out all the rounds that are in the gun and many of the guns had extended magazines, so for example, one of those guns could shoot 33 rounds in two seconds.”

Deputies tracked the teen on Saturday night to a party at a house that had been rented through Airbnb.

The sheriff’s office on its Live on Patrol Facebook page dubbed the situation: “AIRBNB becomes dangerous MACHINEGUNBNB.”

An auto sear attached to a gun “not only makes it an illegal machine gun, but it’s highly dangerous because you can’t aim,” Martin said.

The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office said it found 11 guns in a house being rented for a teen’s birthday party in Maple Grove on Oct. 21, 2023. (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office Live on Patrol)

The situation began Friday about 11:15 a.m. when a man reported seeing someone enter his work truck in the 4600 block of Chandler Road in Shoreview. He yelled for them to get out of his truck, but he found his wallet had been stolen.

Between 11:40 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., the man received notifications of charges to his stolen credit cards. There was $577 charges to his bank credit cards, and additional charges of $275 and were attempted on his other credit cards. The transactions happened at the Target in Shoreview.

An investigator reviewed video surveillance from the store and compared photographs to a similar theft and unauthorized card use in Lino Lakes and determined it was the same person, according to a juvenile petition filed Friday by the Ramsey County attorney’s office. Law enforcement disseminated the photos and members from the sheriff’s office Carjacking and Auto Theft team recognized the suspect, Martin said.

“Over the weekend, we learned that there was going to be a birthday party for the 17-year-old suspect … and that they had rented an Airbnb in the suburbs,” Martin said. Through “tremendous” investigative work, deputies “put together where the Airbnb was,” he said.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher and deputies went to a home in Maple Grove on 108th Avenue near Zachary Lane. The person who had rented the Airbnb wasn’t there and the sheriff’s office contacted the homeowner, who told them the rental agreement specified a maximum of 10 people allowed, and no weapons or smoking.

There were about 50 people at the home and “they had been posting pictures on social media of themselves with weapons and smoking,” Martin said. The homeowner told law enforcement, “Shut it down” and deputies did with the assistance of Maple Grove police.

The people attending the party were 15- to 21-years-old and law enforcement told them they were going to search them when they were leaving the home to ensure they didn’t have illegal guns.

“They were advised if they did have guns to keep them in the house and they did,” Martin said.

Deputies found 11 guns in the home in backpacks and purses, unfinished walls, and behind TVs and couches. One was hidden in a “Heads Up” game box and another in a McDonald’s bag on the kitchen counter, the sheriff’s office said.

“This is especially concerning to us because several of the party attendees are part of a ‘group’ that has enemies — or as they call them ‘opps’,” a reference to the opposition, the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook.

Deputies arrested the 17-year-old and prosecutors charged him with financial transaction fraud. Law enforcement is continuing to investigate the guns, including where they came from, who handled them on Saturday and whether they were used in past crimes.

“Unauthorized and disruptive parties are banned on Airbnb, and our safety team has removed the booking guest from the platform,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement Monday. “We are supporting our host … and we stand ready to assist the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate.”

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