Police chase leads to arrests

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A vehicle theft resulting in a 2.5 mile pursuit through town late Monday night could be related to the recent Brownsdale vehicle thefts, according to Police Chief Brian Krueger.

Brett Dennis, 23, of Rochester, and Juan Ramirez, 27, of Stewartville, could face up to four felony charges and a handful of gross misdemeanors in the incident.

The theft occurred Monday night around 11 p.m. when Dennis allegedly entered an open garage in the 2700 block of Ninth Avenue Southwest and began driving away in a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country. The vehicle was unlocked and had the keys in it.

Email newsletter signup

The homeowner observed Dennis driving away and alerted the Austin Police Department of the theft. An officer attempted to make a traffic stop on the stolen van when it appeared stuck in the snow at 28th Street and 16th Avenue Southwest, but Dennis allegedly took off running and got into a white Buick that Juan Ramirez, 27, of Stewartville was driving.

The two men led police on a 2.5 mile pursuit down 16th Avenue Southwest, which was unplowed at the time, to 12th Street Southwest and turned west on Eighth Avenue Southwest.

Officers were able to arrest Dennis and Ramirez when their car went into a snowbank at 21st Street and Seventh Avenue Southwest.

When police performed inventory on the Buick, they discovered many items that “did not belong,” according to Police Chief Brian Krueger, including a pair of boots, flashlights, cash, a wallet and gift cards. Krueger said these items were stolen from other residences in Austin and most of the items have already been returned to their owners.

“I think this one is going to tie in with the Brownsdale (burglaries),” Krueger said Wednesday morning.

Krueger indicated that officers gathered information tying in this incident with the string of vehicle thefts and ransacks that took place in Brownsdale last weekend.

The police report has been forwarded to the county attorney’s office, but Krueger said Dennis and Ramirez could be charged with burglary, motor vehicle theft, fleeing in a motor vehicle, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property, damage to property, giving a false name to a police officer, careless driving, failure to stop, unsafe speed for conditions and tampering with a motor vehicle.