Charges: 18-year-old stole Avis rental car from MSP Airport

Police are investigating a rash of car rental thefts at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and charges came down on Monday against an 18-year-old who admitted an accomplice routinely pays men to do it.

Liban Abdullahi Yusuf apparently stole an Avis rental car on March 14. On March 19, an Avis employee reported to airport police officers that a 2015 Dodge Challenger had been stolen from the lot. Video surveillance showed a car with 5 people pull up to the lot at 5:30 p.m. Two of them got in the Challenger and with Yusuf behind the wheel, drove to the guarded exit gate. They spoke with the guard, gave him a cigarette and drove off.

The guard said he let them leave in the Challenger because "based on his training, he is required to permit drivers to take vehicles out of the lot if the driver represents that the car is their own personal vehicle," charges say. The passenger had apparently scraped off the Avis sticker before leaving the lot.

Officers learned Yusuf sporadically goes to school at South Education Center in Richfield, where surveillance footage shows him drive the Challenger into the school parking lot on March 17.

Yusuf told police the other man in the car told him he knew how to get cars from the airport and he routinely pays men several hundred dollars to help him take cars from the airport. Only Yusuf has been arrested for the March theft, but court documents list up to 5, including the apparent accomplice that he said masterminded the whole thing.

Saturday airport shooting

A man shot by police Saturday night at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is out of the hospital and in police custody on pending charges of aggravated assault. Police said the incident was possibly connected to the recent car theft investigation.

At about 9:30 p.m., airport police responded to a report of "suspicious persons" at the Terminal 1 Hertz rental car ramp. While they investigated the scene, a vehicle driven by 36-year-old Abdul Kadir Sheikh Mahmoud intentionally drove at the officers who were on-foot, Hennepin County sheriff's officials said. He has yet to be charged and officials haven't confirmed if Saturday's shooting was connected to the March theft.
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