The woman’s mother and grandmother said she has recently fallen in with a bad crowd.
Bail was set Monday afternoon for the woman accused of beating Minneapolis mayoral candidate Mark Andrew after her cohort stole his iPhone from a Mall of America Starbucks last week.
Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain, 18, of Brooklyn Park, was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree aggravated robbery and one count of second-degree assault. At her first court appearance Monday, the judge set her bail at $50,000 without conditions and $25,000 with conditions, including no contact with Andrew and avoiding the Mall of America.
After the brief hearing, Cutler-Cain’s mother and grandmother said they were heartbroken over what happened to Andrew. They said Cutler-Cain goes to an alternative high school and has fallen into a bad crowd lately. Her next court appearance is set for Jan. 30.
Because of County Attorney Mike Freeman’s friendship with Andrew and his endorsement in the mayor’s race, the cases against the Cutler-Cain and another teenager charged Monday will be handled by another county attorney’s office to remove any appearance of a conflict of interest. It has yet to be determined which county attorney’s office will handle it.
Andrew, the runner-up in last month’s Minneapolis mayoral election, was beaten, bloodied and threatened with death after he chased down a man who stole his iPhone at the coffee shop. Cutler-Cain was arrested along with a 17-year-old female, who has not been identified because she is a juvenile. The male who took the phone from Andrew’s table has not been identified.
Senator calls for crack down
The incident is part of a surge of cell phone — mainly iPhone – thefts across the country. It’s a lucrative business for the thieves, who often sell them for hundreds of dollars each.
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to cell-phone companies Monday urging them to do what they can to help slow down the theft of cell phones by, for example, installing a “kill switch” that would deter thieves who try to resell stolen phones.
“Mobile devices aren’t just telephones anymore – increasingly people’s livelihoods depend on them,” she said in a statement. “That’s why we need to do more to crack down on criminals who are stealing and reselling these devices, costing consumers billions every year. The wireless industry needs to step up to the plate and address these thefts, and make sure consumers have the most advanced security technology at their fingertips.”
Second teen, 17, charged
Cutler-Cain and the other girl are accused of attacking Andrew, also a former Hennepin County commissioner, with a metal baton when he gave chase to the male who swiped his phone. The complaint said the two females were standing out side the store and intercepted him.
Andrew received nine stitches at Fairview Southdale Hospital, where an ambulance took him after the attack Thursday evening. He was released the same night.
He was not at the hearing.
Shortly after the hearing, a second teenager was charged by juvenile petition in connection with the case.
Deea Leshawn Elliott, 17, of Minneapolis, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated first-degree robbery and one felony count of second-degree assault. At the same time, the county attorney’s office also filed a motion for adult certification. That will require a judge’s ruling that Elliott should stand trial as an adult, instead of as a juvenile.
In the petition, Elliott allegedly hit Andrew on the head with a metal baton. Elliott also made her first court appearance Monday.
David Chanen • 612-673-4465