Eight Chicago-area men were charged Thursday in connection with the dash-and-grab theft of about $20,000 worth of luxury Louis Vuitton merchandise from the Galleria mall in Edina.

Louis Vuitton stores have been hit with similar thefts throughout the United States, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Several of the men charged in the Edina heist have been identified by police and the FBI in videos of thefts at high-end malls in other states, according to the complaint.

Just as the Edina Louis Vuitton store opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday, seven of the men ran in and grabbed as much merchandise as they could carry before running out to a waiting van, the charges said. A former security guard was parked in the lot and became suspicious of the van. When he saw the men run out with merchandise, dragging security ropes and tags, he called police and followed the van as it headed south on Penn Avenue.

With numerous police agencies in pursuit, the van jumped on eastbound Interstate 494, racing through several suburbs with speeds hitting more than 100 miles per hour at times. At one point, the van swerved around some police “stop sticks” on the pavement and hit another vehicle. The 30-mile chase, which continued onto I-94, ended in Woodbury when a Bloomington police officer used his vehicle to ram the fleeing van, bringing it to a halt.

Derrick Crowder, 22; William Curry, 23; Clyde Dobbs, 22; Thomas Gaston Jr., 22; Darion Hood, 21; Shawn Mondie, 21; Danny Robinson, 39, and Leon White, 29, were charged with a single count of felony theft. White also was charged with fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

Staff report