A 36-year-old Holdingford man has been arrested, suspected of stealing vehicles and tools, punching a victim in the face several times, and fleeing law enforcement Thursday morning in Stearns County.
According to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrested the suspect around 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, with the help of a SWAT team and K9 after the suspect wouldn't respond to verbal commands.
His arrest ended an hours-long crime spree, with the sheriff's office noting a victim called 911 at 6:58 a.m. on Thursday saying a man with a knife had just stolen tools from his garage and loaded them in a white pickup truck. When the victim tried to confront the suspect, he punched him in the face several times and then fled in the truck, the victim said.
A deputy saw the suspect's truck traveling eastbound near County Road 17 east of Highway 238 in Krain Township and pulled him over. The suspect initially stopped, but then fled, forcing another vehicle off the road and into the ditch (that driver wasn't injured).
Other agencies responded, and a deputy waiting near the Wobegon trail and County Road 17 near Holdingford spotted the suspect park on a side street and go inside a building with apartments at 521 Main St.
Inside, the suspect went into his apartment unit. Deputies set up a perimeter to contain the suspect inside and negotiators tried to make contact with him.
Eventually, a SWAT team and a K9 were used to get inside the apartment after the suspect didn't respond to verbal commands. He was taken into custody shortly after 11 a.m.
But the man's alleged criminal acts began before the tool thefts. According to the sheriff's office, the pickup he was driving had been stolen in Millwood Township earlier that day, and while the original 911 call was evolving, law enforcement received another 911 call about the theft of a snowmobile in Millwood Township – just west of where the pickup was stolen.
The owner of the snowmobile said a truck had been left at their home. That truck had been stolen from a home in Sauk Centre, with the sheriff's office noting the suspect is believed to have driven off from a gas station without paying on Jan. 27 in Albany, with his vehicle found later just southeast of Sauk Centre city limits.
The suspect was booked into jail on charges including two counts of second-degree burglary, fleeing police in a motor vehicle and criminal damage to property. Additional charges are pending.