Coon Rapids Police’s response to a shoplifting in March led to two unrelated felony charges being filed against a man with a long criminal history.
Luke Steve Stringfellow, 29, Minneapolis, entered a guilty plea in Anoka County District Court to a felony possession of a firearm by a felon (crime of violence conviction) and was sent to prison for 60 months with credit for 123 days served.
Felony receiving stolen property and misdemeanor theft charges were dismissed.
According to the complaint, both the vehicle that Stringfellow was driving and a loaded handgun found inside the car had been reported stolen.
The early evening of March 8, police responded to a shoplifting in progress at the Coon Rapids JC Penney store where the male suspect, who had put on clothing he had selected underneath the clothes he was already wearing, walked past all checkout stations without attempting to pay for the clothes; they were valued at about $101.
When officers saw the man and walked toward him, he started to run, but was caught a short distance away and identified as Stringfellow.
As Stringfellow lay on the ground, police saw him place his hands into a snow bank and located a right-hand print with a Dodge “valet key” as well as black cell phone near the left-hand print.
Police were aware that Stringfellow was a suspect in multiple recent car thefts so they searched the parking lot for the vehicle that the key belonged to and came across a 2001 Dodge Caravan nearby.
A registration check on the van found that the license plate did not match the vehicle and both the van and license plate had been reported stolen in separate incidents, according to the complaint.
During an inventory search of the van, officers found a 9 mm handgun under the driver’s side floor mat loaded with seven rounds, including one in the chamber.
A check of the gun’s serial number came back that it had been reported stolen in a Pine City burglary Feb. 15.
Stringfellow was ineligible to possess a firearm because of past convictions for second-degree aggravated robbery in 2003 and motor vehicle theft in 2009.
Court records show that Stringfellow has served prison time for two motor vehicle theft convictions in 2009 and two convictions for felony theft in 2011.
Peter Bodley is at