Theft suspect dies after suffering medical issue in back of police cruiser

The man was arrested over stolen propane tanks.

State authorities are investigating the death of a man in police custody. 

It happened early Friday morning in Maplewood, after a local police officer pulled over a man suspected of stealing propane tanks from a gas station.

According to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the officer "verified he was the theft suspect" and arrested him, putting him in the back of the squad car. 

Soon afterwards, the officer noticed that the arrestee "seemed to be having a medical issue." The suspect told the officer that "he had ingested some drugs."

Paramedics were called to the scene, though the man's condition worsened while they were treating him, the release says. 

He was brought to St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, where he was pronounced dead a short time later. 

"It is important to note that there was no physical struggle between the officer and the detained suspect, and medical attention was summoned when the suspect's condition was observed," the release says. 

The man has not yet been identified yet. Medical examiners will determine his exact cause of death. 

Because he died in police custody, the case is being handled by the BCA.

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