Ilhan Omar's Challenger A QAnon-Believing, Alleged-Multiple-Offending Shoplifter On The Run From The Law
Danielle Stella wants Ilhan Omar's seat in Congress. Any Republican would have a hard enough time unseating Omar, given that Minnesota's Fifth District is heavily Democratic, but Stella has more obstacles in her way than the average Minnesota Republican. For one, she is a QAnon believer. Like, among other things, she believes that JFK Jr. or someone is posting secret clues to the internet in order to keep people apprised of Donald Trump's ongoing war against pedophiles who kill children in order to get high off of their adrenal glands.
For another, she can't campaign in the district she is competing for, on account of how there is currently a warrant out for her arrest and she is on the lam.
As The Guardian reported back in July of last year, the 31-year-old special education teacher was arrested twice last year on shoplifting charges — one for allegedly awarding herself a discount of nearly $2400 from a Target, and another for $40 in "cat merchandise" from a supermarket. The Target arrest occurred in January 2019, when police say she scanned about $50 worth of items at the self-checkout, and then walked out with 279 more, totaling $2,327.97.
To give you an idea of exactly how much stuff that must have been, the last time I was at Target and bought an entire cart full of groceries, clothes, hair things, vitamins, wine and a bunch of house stuff I needed, my total was about $250. I don't know how anyone is getting to $2400 at Target without being some kind of Supermarket Sweep mastermind.
If convicted of this, she could earn up to five years in jail and up to $10,000 in fines.
At the time, Stella texted The Guardian that she was not guilty of any shoplifting crimes, though she failed to provide an explanation for why anyone would be wrongly arrested for shoplifting twice in one year:
In a series of text messages, Stella said: "I am not guilty of these crimes. In this country I am innocent until proven guilty and that is the law."
She added: "If I was guilty of crimes, I would never run for public office, putting myself in the public eye under a microscope to be attacked by all political sides."
It is true that she is innocent until proven guilty in the United States, but she has refused to show up for court to prove it.
The Daily Beast reported today:
According to records, though, Stella failed to show up for multiple October court hearings about her alleged felony. After Stella missed another hearing, a judge issued a still-outstanding warrant for her arrest.
"We can confirm that she does have an active felony theft warrant in Hennepin County," a spokesman for the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office told The Daily Beast.
Police weren't the only ones looking for Stella this weekend. As the Daily Beast also reported, a conspiracy theorist with a large YouTube following who calls himself "Montagraph" claimed with no evidence whatsoever that Stella was being held against her will at a motel in Osceola, Wisconsin, which led to hundreds of his followers calling the hotel and calling the police, which led to the police showing up at the motel and later confirming that Stella was fine.
In addition to the shoplifting charges and the non-kidnapping ordeal, Stella has also had her account suspended by Twitter after calling for Rep. Omar's execution, should she be found guilty of passing sensitive information to Iran, a thing Stella merely suspected that she might have done.
@IlhanMN Screenshot of Danielle Stella's original tweet: https://t.co/IOMVEoeczv— Chad Loder (@Chad Loder)1574821834.0
There are lots of perfectly sane but not-all-that-swift people who believe in the QAnon crap and there are lots of people who shoplift for either sustenance or for the thrill of it, but shoplifting, specifically, is very often a sign that other things are going on mental-health-wise — which is why you may have noticed this is a much gentler and kinder post than we would normally write about a woman who has said just some terrible things.
At the very least, we probably do not have to worry that she will actually win this election.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse