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September 1, 2014

Report: Couple that died in Hwy. 212 shooting were suspects in car theft case

Documents show the man and woman killed after a high-speed police chase on Highway 212 were suspects in an attempted car theft case, FOX 9 reports.

Weeks before being fatally shot in a confrontation with police, Matthew Vincent Serbus, 36, and Dawn Marie Pfister, 34, were accused of taking car keys from a Rochester dealership, the station says.

Authorities say Serbus then returned to the dealership with the keys after hours, intending to steal a vehicle. He was arrested on site and charged with attempted motor vehicle theft. Pfister was found at a Rochester hotel, along with another set of keys.

The couple reportedly admitted to plans of taking a vehicle and leaving town.

On Friday morning, Serbus and Pfister were in high-speed police chase that ended with a crash on Hwy. 212 in Eden Prairie. They both died in a confrontation with police following the crash. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner said Pfister and Serbus died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Sources told KSTP that police felt they were forced to open fire after seeing one of the two holding a cutting instrument, possibly a knife. Four officers involved in the shooting have been placed on standard administrative leave.

At the time of their death, Pfister and Serbus were wanted on arrest warrants in Olmsted County after they failed to appear in court Jan. 27 in connection with the attempted car theft case, FOX 9 reports.

According to the station, Serbus was charged with one count of attempted motor vehicle theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft. Pfister was charged with conspiracy to commit motor vehicle theft.

Pauly Hoffman, a friend of Serbus, told KARE 11 earlier this week that he received a message from Pfister on Facebook last month, saying she and Serbus needed money to get out of jail in Rochester. Hoffman did not offer any details about why the two were jailed.

“On Jan. 21, I got a message from his girlfriend Dawn on Facebook. They needed help in Rochester. They asked for my help,” Hoffman told KARE 11.

Authorities, meanwhile, are still piecing together details on what led to the high-speed chase and subsequent shooting of the couple.

KARE said Serbus and Pfister had been in a relationship for about a month.

Jason Pfister, Dawn Pfister’s ex-husband, is asking people to keep the ex-couple’s children, ages 12 and 9, in their prayers.

“This is really hard on everybody,” Jason Pfister told KSTP by phone. “Until we know for sure what actually happened, all I can ask is that everyone pray for the children to find a way to heal through this.”

KSTP says Serbus was considered a “chronic offender,” with 36 cases in Minnesota against him, and another 21 in Wisconsin.