Minneapolis gift shop closes after victim in fake roadside alert Craigslist post

After a tumultuous year, a small business owner in Minneapolis is closing its doors. His small gift shop, Cockadoodledoo, in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood was the target of a sophisticated theft scheme that involved false postings on Craigslist, a popular online classifieds site.

Cockadoodledoo is a familiar storefront with its iconic giant grill near the intersection of Cedar Lake Road and Penn Avenue South, where owner Gerry Seiler fills his former sidewalk with merchandise for sale. It was this item that was targeted in a fraudulent post in February, a so-called “containment alert.” The Craigslist ad announced that everything on the sidewalk was free and everything had to go.

“I’m going to see this as a learning experience, a real learning experience, there are horrible people out there,” Thaler told FOX 9’s Paul Bloom recently. “It’s so surreal that this happened. But I’m now on a new journey.”

Coming from the retail struggles of the pandemic, Saylor has taken an extra hit in advertising that appears to be a concerted effort to loot and steal his sidewalk merchandise.

FOX 9 obtained surveillance video of a February 27 mass theft in which people stole more than $13,000 in merchandise.

To Seiler and others close to him, a Minneapolis Police Department investigation that included search warrant data obtained from Craigslist revealed that the seemingly fraudulent post was likely posted by someone on the same block. Created by a person involved in a business.

“It makes me feel weak for me to actually understand that someone would do this shocking act and plan it,” Thaler explained. “The vileness and mentality of the deviance is really unconscionable.”

Although Thaler’s spirit has been lifted in recent months, no criminal charges have been brought after the original FOX 9 story and word of mouth that the Craigslist ad was fake, leading some people who drove away with the merchandise to return it and apologize .

“I’m honored to know there are respectable people out there, and I thank them for that. I really did,” Saylor said.

Police reports reviewed by FOX 9 indicate that the cell phone number and email address associated with the fake Craigslist posts were traced to a nearby business owner in the same Bryn Mawr neighborhood. But the owner told investigators that 13 people had access to his phone, making it nearly impossible for prosecutors to hold any individual responsible for the crime.

As for Seiler, while he loves the community and his store, he made the difficult decision to close the location at the end of October given what he’s been through and what he’s described as Minneapolis changing. There is currently a 35% discount on a sign in front of Cockadoodledoo that says “Moving Sale”. Seiler’s store will be open on weekends until he finally closes.

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