GREENVALE TOWNSHIP, MN – There is an old saying…if it was not for bad luck, some people would have no luck at all.
That certainly seems to be the case in terms of a Minnesota man who ended up going to jail after he allegedly parked a stolen car in the barn of two retired police officers.
— Pioneer Press (@PioneerPress) February 20, 2022
According to police, the suspect, identified as Alexander John Thompson, stole a 2011 Volvo C30 from Lakeville and began to drive it south to the area of Northfield in Dakota County. Once there, for some unknown reason, Thompson allegedly decided to pull into a home off of 320th Street.
Thompson allegedly went to a pole barn on the property and opened the overhead door and parked the stolen car inside. What Thompson could not have known was the house and barn that he picked belonged to two retired police officers who just so happened to be leaving their home and saw him park the car.
The homeowners – the wife, who is retired from the Prior Lake Police Department, and the husband, a former Army combat veteran and retired New Mexico police officer – approached Thomas to figure out what he was doing.
"St. Paul, MN: '…Thompson pulled up to a home, opened a [garage] door and parked [his stolen car] inside. Unbeknownst to Thompson, the homeowners are two retired police officers. They quickly detained the 31-year-old.'https://t.co/TVfr6rIY8h @pioneerpress
— Neil (@NPSusa) February 19, 2022
Thompson allegedly asked her if she could provide him a ride and she refused. Her husband began asking what Thompson was doing there and why he had parked the car inside of his barn. As the husband was asking questions, the wife went into her house and retrieved a set of handcuffs.
When the wife returned, both retired officers handcuffed Thompson and notified the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office of the situation. When deputies arrived on the scene, they began questioning Thompson who allegedly provided the owner’s name of the stolen vehicle.
Thompson allegedly informed the deputy that he had parked the car in the pole barn because it was starting to break down. Dakota County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jeff Leopold said that the deputy was unsure what to believe because of Thompson’s continued lies. He said:
“We don’t know if that was true, because his story kept changing.”
The deputy had the vehicle towed out of the officer’s barn, and in the process learned that the vehicle was stolen. Captain Leopold commented on Thomas’ arrest, saying:
“He could have chosen any house [to hide the car]. So, this was very bad luck [for him]. But good luck for us.”
Deputies placed Thompson under arrest on January 30th for suspicion of burglary, giving a false name to a peace officer, auto theft, and driving after his license was cancelled. Thompson remained in custody in the Dakota County Jail until he appeared in front of Judge David Lutz who set his bond at $5,000 without conditions, but only $3,000 with conditions.
The owner of the Volvo reported the vehicle theft to the Lakeville Police Department on the morning of January 30th. The owner reported to the Lakeville Police Department that his vehicle was allegedly locked but did have a key fob that was secured inside.
Hope your morning will be much, much better than the one this guy had. https://t.co/1CgFeIjnXq
— G.Stephen Strand (@gill_strand) February 19, 2022
Thompson’s criminal history dates to 2017 and shows he has been arrested numerous felony convictions for theft and drug arrests. Additionally, he had an outstanding arrest warrant out of Wright County for failing to show up to a court hearing regarding an unrelated felony theft case at the time of his arrest.
In addition to the new charges and warrant for his arrest, Thompson also has an unrelated auto theft charge in Dakota County for allegedly stealing a 2011 Ford Edge from the Walmart in Hastings on January 27th. Thompson’s next court date is set for March 16th.
Local news outlet KOTV released surveillance video capturing the action when Sprague walked out of his residence and discovered the unfortunate criminal.
Sprague and his wife were sleeping around 4:30 a.m. on January 9 when their Ring camera alerted them of motion in the driveway. He said his instincts kicked in:
“I just kind of reverted back to some old training and some things happened and I got lucky.
“(I) jumped up and grabbed a pistol for protection, threw on some clothes and went outside to see what was going on and see if I could stop the problem. My initial intent was to go out, get the description, see if I could see a vehicle to give to the police.”
Sprague said that as he walked outside to investigate, he saw the suspect’s shadow inside the rear of his vehicle with the dome light on.
Sprague quickly slammed the door shut on the subject inside and caught the criminal off-guard. Sprague said the move seemed to work:
“Which stunned him judging by the look on his face when he did turn around and saw me standing there.”
The former military special operations veteran knew that slamming the door would give him an unexpected tactical advantage, and he was correct:
“I’m starting out as an intended victim at a tactical disadvantage because he’s already acting, committing his crime, and I’ve got to play catchup and react to it.
“I know that I’ve got to change his school of thought and take him out of his plan and give him something he didn’t plan which causes a mental speedbump.”
After slamming the door on the suspect, Sprague can be seen in the video removing a Glock firearm from the suspect’s waistband while his wife called police from inside the home:
“(I) removed the Glock 23 from his waistband along with an ID out of his back pocket.
“He also planned for contingencies. He thought that there might be a chance that a homeowner would come out and confront him about the situation and his contingency was that Glock 23 on his hip.”
Sprague pointed the gun at the suspect and ordered him to the ground. He said it seemed like he held the man in the driveway for a long time, but that the video shows how fast things actually happened:
“I will commend the Tulsa Police Department. Their response time was excellent. They were there in no time.”
An apparent conspirator sitting in a car down the street jumped out of the car and moved toward Sprague. Sprague can be seen on the video warning the man not to approach him.
Sprague said as soon as they heard sirens, both suspects took off. He describes the suspects as about 20, tall and lanky. He said the suspect who broke into his car said he had to get to work before running off.
Sprague said that he did not try to stop the suspects, and that there was nothing in his vehicle worth someone losing their life:
“There’s nothing in my vehicle that’s worth that guy losing his life over and there’s nothing in that vehicle worth losing my life over.”
Police are reviewing the Ring camera video. No arrests have been made.
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