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A multi-city pursuit of a stolen vehicle that began in Bloomington was ended by a simple stop sign in Apple Valley.

The pursuit began at approximately 9:15 p.m. May 12 as a Bloomington police officer patrolling near the intersection of Nicollet Avenue and 78th Street stopped behind a 1997 Honda CRV. A check of its license plate indicated that the vehicle had been reported stolen in St. Paul, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Damon Bitney.

The officer followed the vehicle while its status was being verified and additional officers were preparing to assist with a traffic stop. The vehicle’s driver went north on Nicollet Avenue into Richfield, turned east onto 77th Street and stopped for a red light at Portland Avenue. At that point, there were additional officers in the vicinity and the pursuing officer initiated a traffic stop. The driver began to slow down and pull over. When it appeared he was about to stop, he instead accelerated and drove away, Bitney said.

The pursuit wove through Richfield, as the driver continued toward Cedar Avenue on 77th Street. He looped around the neighborhood and took 77th Street west to 12th Avenue. From there, he went north to 66th Street, east to Highway 77 and south onto the highway, jumping a curb in his attempt to flee, Bitney explained.

The pursuit continued through Bloomington’s South Loop District, as the driver went east on Interstate 494, exited south at 34th Avenue and wove through South Loop to Highway 77 at Old Shakopee Road. The pursuit then headed south into Eagan, where the driver exited onto Highway 13 and weaved his way into Apple Valley, turning off the highway occasionally. When the driver slowed down in Apple Valley, a pursuing officer used a PIT maneuver to push the vehicle into a ditch. The driver was able to back out of the ditch, however, and rammed a Burnsville squad car that had joined the pursuit. The chase continued from there, Bitney explained.

The pursuit periodically reached speeds of 70-90 miles per hour, he noted.

The chase ended as police officers were preparing to head off the suspect. When the driver reached the area of 134th Street and Johnny Cake Ridge Road in Apple Valley, he lost control of the vehicle while trying to evade officers and struck a stop sign. The vehicle came to a stop, and officers were able to surround the vehicle and conduct a high-risk arrest. The suspect and his passenger did not cooperate initially but eventually complied with commands and were taken into custody, Bitney said.

The driver, a 29-year-old St. Paul man, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, second-degree assault and possession of drug paraphernalia. The assault booking was a result of the suspect using the stolen vehicle to ram the Burnsville squad car, and a search of the vehicle turned up drug paraphernalia, Bitney noted. A search of the suspect also turned up a key that appeared to have been shaved down, potentially for use in stealing the vehicle, he added.

The passenger, a 24-year-old Shakopee woman, was also arrested for possession of the stolen vehicle.

No path to freedom

Four people tried to flee a vehicle on foot after a pursuit along the freeway and near the Edina border, and all four were arrested.

The chase began at approximately 3 a.m. May 12 when a patrol officer spotted an occupied vehicle while driving through the parking lot of Holiday Inn Express, 7801 12th Ave., Bitney said.

The parked Ford Flex appeared to have four occupants, and as the squad car passed by, the vehicle backed out of its parking space and headed toward the exit. The officer followed as the vehicle went north on 12th Avenue, crossed Interstate 494 and turned west on 78th Street. When the vehicle drove through a red light, the officer attempted a traffic stop, at which point the vehicle began to flee, according to Bitney.

The vehicle drove west onto I-494 at approximately 100 miles per hour before heading north at Highway 100. The driver quickly exited at 77th Street and headed east. Still driving 70-80 mph, the driver turned south at France Avenue, turned west on American Boulevard and drove through the grass frontage and into the parking lot of Feldman Imports, 4901 American Blvd. W., where it continued behind the building. Once behind the dealership, the four occupants abandoned the vehicle, Bitney said.

Officers responding to the pursuit set up a perimeter around the dealership. One of the suspects, a 37-year-old Minneapolis man, was spotted by a state patrol helicopter that responded to the search. The suspect was walking south on France Avenue, where he was arrested. Two suspects, a 36-year-old Fridley woman and a 24-year-old Columbia Heights man, were found hiding in a nearby trash bin and were arrested. The fourth suspect, a 31-year-old Minneapolis woman, had attempted to hide but surrendered, Bitney explained.

A check of the abandoned vehicle turned up backpacks that were linked to the suspects. Two of them contained debit cards and checks that were not in the names of the suspects, as well as sets of keys. Another backpack contained suspected narcotics, Bitney noted.

The suspects were all booked for fleeing police officers, on foot or in a motor vehicle, and for either financial transaction card fraud or narcotics possession.

Shoplifting

A 46-year-old deported felon was arrested outside the Bloomington Walmart store after attempting to steal merchandise inside the store and evade an off-duty police officer outside of the building.

A Walmart loss prevention officer watched the suspect, who has no permanent address, as he concealed merchandise, including several watches, inside a backpack at approximately 6 p.m. May 7. When the man exited the store without paying for the merchandise, he was confronted by the loss prevention officer and an off-duty Bloomington police officer who was working at the store. Rather than stop and comply with instructions from the police officer, the suspect took off running, Bitney said.

The man ran through the parking lot, dropping the backpack during the pursuit. He ran between cars before heading toward the store’s bike rack, where he grabbed a bicycle and attempted to pedal away. A witness near the bike rack pushed the suspect off his bike as the pursuing officer approached. The suspect threw the bike at the officer, but the store’s loss prevention officer intervened, slowing down the suspect enough for the officer to grab him, Bitney explained.

Surveillance video showed that the suspect rode the bicycle to the store, Bitney noted.

The suspect was uncooperative upon his arrest, kicking at the doors and windows when he was placed in a squad car. As officers restrained the man’s legs, he began to spit at them, Bitney said.

The suspect was booked on suspicion of theft, fleeing a police officer on foot, fourth-degree assault, threats of violence and obstructing a police officer.

Unhappy neighbor

A 50-year-old Bloomington woman who didn’t seem to like one of her neighbors was arrested on suspicion of fourth-degree assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing the police.

Police officers were dispatched to the 9500 block of Russell Avenue at approximately 8 p.m. May 8 after a report that a woman was outside her home, screaming toward a neighbor. Officers arriving at the scene saw neighbors congregating outside their homes and the woman on her lawn. Several neighbors reported that the woman had been screaming for approximately 20 minutes, and some had cellphone video of her, according to Bitney.

Officers approached the woman, who appeared to be intoxicated. Their offer of assistance was rejected, however, as the woman ran toward the back of her home. Officers ran around both sides of the house, quickly ending the pursuit. The woman took a fighting stance, eventually advancing toward one of the officers, Bitney said.

The officers attempted to calm the woman down, but she remained defiant. When they attempted to restrain her, she resisted, grabbing onto a tree. When it appeared she was willing to comply, she took a fighting stance again. The officers finally restrained her, and arrested her for disorderly conduct and obstructing the police. It became an assault case after the woman kicked at officers and swung her elbow in her efforts to resist being arrested, Bitney explained.

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.

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