A Minneapolis man has been sentenced for stealing a car that was found in the parking lot of a Woodbury store in July.
Boon Mee Cha, 23, was charged in July with three felony counts: car theft and receiving stolen property, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and possession of burglary or theft tools, which has a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
According to the criminal complaint, a Woodbury police detective working undercover on July 10 spotted a Honda Accord in the parking lot of the Woodbury Walmart on Hudson Road. The car’s license plate was not fastened properly to the car, and was hanging at an angle.
The detective saw a man and a woman in the car. He ran the Honda’s license plate and found that it was registered to a different vehicle. When he checked the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), he discovered it didn’t match the license plate and came up as a stolen vehicle.
When the man and woman returned to the car, the detective arrested them and identified the man as Cha. During a search, police found a set of keys, including a “shaved” key—an old car key ground into a pattern to trick door locks and ignitions.
The shaved key had been used to open the Accord’s door, police said.
The woman admitted to police that she was in the car with Cha, but that she didn’t know it was stolen. A second woman who had been with the couple also told police she was unaware Cha had stolen the Accord.
Cha’s criminal record includes convictions for car theft, possession of dangerous weapons, possession of a short-barrel shotgun, burglary, fleeing police, criminal damage to property, obstructing justice and resisting arrest.
Cha pleaded guilty Dec. 2 to the car-theft charge. Under a plea agreement, the remaining two charges were dropped, and Cha was sentenced to 77 days in jail, which he had already served. He was also placed on five years’ probation and ordered to have no contact with gang members, specifically members of the Menace of Destruction (MOD) gang.
In an unrelated case, Cha pleaded guilty in October to felony fifth-degree drug possession in Ramsey County and was scheduled to be sentenced on that conviction this week.