It is the ultimate moron crime. In exchange for the risk of felony assault and robbery charges, all they’re usually walking away with is a cellphone and a wallet already emptied at a bar. The phones are later sold at automated kiosks like ECO ATM, the cops believe. Once the money is divvied, a major score might come to $50 each.
Yet security video suggests this is less about money than violence for violence’s sake. Footage shows teens taking turns jumping on an unconscious victim, riding a bike over a prone body. The weak are enjoying their power over the helpless, emboldened by safety in numbers.
Theft isn’t the only way to get money
Leaving aside the bizarre notion that the perpetrators of these sadistic assaults are “the weak”, the article actually makes a very interesting point.
We often hear that criminals are committing crime because of poverty. Need money? Steal it. But, of course, there are other ways of getting your hands on cash.
You can work for it. According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development, during the fourth quarter of 2018 there were 136,900 job vacancies in Minnesota, up 20 percent from last year, meaning that there were 0.6 unemployed job seekers for each job vacancy statewide (although this situation might have deteriorated recently).
Even if you got a job at minimum wage, you’d earn $8.04 an hour (assuming you’re under 18). In 6.2 hours – the equivalent of a 6pm to midnight shift – you’d earn the equivalent of a “major score” battering someone on Hennepin Avenue and you wouldn’t be running the risk of felony assault and robbery charges.
It’s not the economy, stupid