An incident in Eden Prairie earlier this week that required a local bomb squad to do a sweep of a pickup truck has resulted in felony charges for a St. Paul man.
John Ross Whitaker, 25, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with third-degree burglary and receiving stolen property, after he was arrested in Eden Prairie and found to be in possession of stolen guns and ammunition.
Charging documents say Whitaker was arrested on his birthday (Monday) after knocking on an Eden Prairie man's door at 5:15 a.m. and talking nonsensically. The man recognized Whitaker as one of his patients and contacted police out of fear for his safety.
An officer arrived and found Whitaker in the area, immediately detaining him after seeing a handgun in the left breast pocket of his jacket. During the arrest, a second handgun was found in the right breast pocket of his jacket.
Charges filed on Tuesday reveal that Whitaker was dressed in all black, matching the description of a burglar who on March 9 broke into Frontiersman Sports gun store in St. Louis Park.
Surveillance footage of the burglary revealed a man in black clothing, shoes and a mask walk into the store around 2:30 a.m., stealing two handguns and approximately 40 boxes of ammunition and magazines, which he stuffed into a duffle bag.
Video also showed the burglar picking locks on two doors to get inside the gun store, later exiting and driving away in a light-colored pickup.
During the arrest of Whitaker on Monday, police found a duffle bag inside a U-Haul pickup truck that contained a black ski mask, lock-picking tools and ammunition. Two more guns were found in a backpack inside the truck.
Whitaker admitted during an interview with police that he stole the guns and ammo from the St. Louis Park gun store.
The criminal complaint however doesn't make any mention of Whitaker being in possession of explosive materials, which Eden Prairie Police Department said sparked the alert on Monday.
The potential for "materials that could be used to make explosive devices" prompted police to call in the bomb squad from Bloomington Police Department to search Whitaker's vehicle.
Fortunately, no active explosives were found and the neighborhood on the east side of Rice Marsh Lake was cleared.