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Man steals St. Cloud cop car, flees to park before hiding in someone's basement, vehicle

The 25-year-old was arrested about an hour and a half after stealing the vehicle.
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A St. Cloud police officer's squad car was stolen Thursday night while he was investigating a report of a suspicious person at a gas station. 

The incident happened around 7:15 p.m. at the Kwik Trip located at 6250 County Road 120. According to the department, the officer communicated with a 25-year-old man in the parking lot, who was cooperating until the officer went inside the Kwik Trip to talk to an employee. 

That's when police say the 25-year-old got into the officer's unlock squad car and left the gas station. 

The vehicle was tracked via GPS by the Stearns County Dispatch Center and found at Millstream Park in St. Joseph, which is about five miles away from the Kwik Trip. 

The 25-year-old had left the squad car at the park, though authorities saw footprints leaving the area. Nothing was stolen from the squad car and no damage was done, though the GPS showed that he was traveling at a high rate of speed. 

Authorities set up a perimeter and used a K9 and drone to search for the man. 

While searching, a homeowner near the park called police to report hearing noises in their basement. Police say the suspect had been hiding in the unlocked basement shop before moving to a vehicle outside the home, where he was located and arrested around 8:40 p.m. 

The man is being held in the Stearns County Jail on pending charges of vehicle theft. 

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