A Minnesota Republican who is challenging Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in the 2020 election has reportedly been arrested twice for shoplifting.
This information comes by way of the Guardian, which reported that congressional hopeful Danielle Stella, a 31-year-old special education teacher, was charged with felony theft related to alleged shoplifting earlier this year. Stella denies the allegations.
The first occasion took place on January 8 of this year. Stella was accused of trying to leave a Minneapolis Target after only self-scanning $50 worth of the items she had in her possession. In actuality, she had 279 items totaling $2,327.
Stella has denied the charge. At the time, she told the arresting officers she suffered from post-traumatic stress related to a violent assault she suffered in 2008, and that the only thing she remembered was her arrival at Target. She claimed that for this reason “normally she goes to Target with someone because of anxiety around people,” the Guardian reported.
She subsequently missed an April court appearance, which led police to put out an arrest warrant in her name. If found guilty of felony theft, she could face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
On April 28, she was arrested after being caught shoplifting $40.46 of cat food and “cat merchandise” from Cub Food Grocery in Bloomington.
Stella has maintained her innocence throughout, responding to the report in text messages to the Guardian, “I am not guilty of these crimes. In this country, I am innocent until proven guilty and that is the law.”
“If I was guilty of crimes,” she continued, “I would never run for public office, putting myself in the public eye under a microscope to be attacked by all political sides.”
She also fired back at the Guardian reporter in a series of tweets on Thursday for writing “garbage, unethical, outright lies.”
Absolute horrendous “reporting” by the fraud @jonswaine at the @GuardianUS . What you wrote was garbage, unethical, outright lies. You repeatedly called, texted with threats about posting a smear article, which you then proceeded to do. You are an #EnemyOfThePeople #FauxNews 🎤.
— Danielle Stella (@2020MNCongress) July 26, 2019
Stella launched her campaign to unseat Omar in Minnesota’s 5th District in June and part of her platform is on reducing crime.
Republicans sure would like to see Omar replaced in 2020. But if the Guardian’s report is true, Stella’s campaign is off to a bad start.