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Thief rescued after stealing car that crashed and caught fire in trainyard revealed to be 14-year-old boy

He faces possible charges for his role in a robbery, police pursuits, stealing the vehicle and driving while drunk, police said.

A 14-year-old is suspected of robbing a man in St. Cloud, stealing his vehicle, and eventually crashing the car into a trainyard platform, where the car burst into flames.

According to a St. Cloud Police Department news release, police responded to a report of a robbery at 1:01 a.m. Friday on the 300 block of Laudenbach Court. 

The victim, an 18-year-old man, said he was walking from a party when three people approached him and started assaulting him. They took his backpack and a set of car keys before he ran from the area. Moments later, he watched as his car was stolen and driven away. The victim wasn't hurt.

While police were responding to the robbery call, a motorist reported a driver swerving all over the roadway in what was believed to be the robbery victim's vehicle. 

At about 1:09 a.m., police attempted to stop the stolen vehicle as it was headed east on University Drive. The driver took off at a high rate of speed, and police pursued for a short time, but stopped due to high speeds, the release said. 

About a half-hour later, police spotted the victim's vehicle again and attempted to pull it over, but the suspect fled. Police tried to follow but lost sight of the vehicle. 

Not long after, police located the vehicle in a train yard just north of Breckenridge and 14th Avenue North. The driver, police said, appeared to drive off the road north into a train yard, where they then "crashed into an elevated track platform causing the vehicle to catch fire," the release says. 

The driver, identified as a 14-year-old boy from St. Cloud, was stuck inside the burning vehicle. Police "attempted to suppress the flames with fire extinguishers while trying to physically free" him from the car. 

Police pulled the boy out and he was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, which he sustained from the initial crash. The release said the boy also appeared to have been under the influence of alcohol. 

The suspect is being treated at the hospital, with police noting he'll face potential charges for his involvement in the pursuits, driving under the influence, the stolen vehicle and the robbery, which remains under investigation. 

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact the St. Paul Police Department at 320-251-1200, or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-255-1301 or online here.

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