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Spied McDonald’s bag helps catch fugitive who stole car

A man wanted after failing to show up to a court hearing for a felony fifth-degree drug possession charge received new charges on Friday — with the help of a warm hamburger.

Corry Dexter Kranz, 27, of Austin was charged with felony theft-taking/driving a motor vehicle without owner consent, misdemeanor driving after suspension of his license and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

According to the court complaint, a Mower County deputy’s vehicle was almost struck by a 1995 Buick Century at 3:36 a.m. on Dec. 23 as it sped eastbound in the 1500 block of Fifth Avenue Northwest. The deputy turned to initiate a traffic stop and saw the Buick turn south on 13th Street Northwest. The deputy followed and found the Buick empty, but still running, in front of the driveway of a house in the 500 block. Inside was a cell phone running a “police scanner” application. The front and rear license plates did not match.

The vehicle identification number came back to a woman in Owatonna, according to the complaint. The deputy called the woman, who said her daughter in Adams drove the Buick.

Kranz

The deputy and an Austin police officer tried to follow footprints in the snow, but were unable to find the occupants, according to the report. The owner of the home where the car stopped said he heard two car doors shut, but did not see anyone.

The deputy searched the car and found a Galaxy S5 cell phone, a digital scale, and a backpack, according to the complaint. The backpack allegedly contained two cell phones, a black container with a scoop and methamphetamine residue, several syringes, several cellophane tags, a computer hard drive, two USB jump drives and a charger.

The deputy also found a McDonalds bag and a warm hamburger, according to the report. He went to McDonalds and saw surveillance footage from the drive-thru. The footage allegedly showed the Buick drive up with Kranz in the driver’s seat.

The deputy later spoke with the daughter who drove the car, who said she had been in Owatonna and had not given anyone permission to drive it, according to the complaint.

Kranz was arrested on Dec. 28.

Kranz was also charged with felony first-degree sales of 17 grams of more of cocaine or methamphetamine within a 90-day period on Friday.

According to the court complaint, Kranz sold methamphetamine to a police informant on Dec. 28, 2016, and Jan. 4, 2017. He allegedly sold the informant a total of 17.579 grams of methamphetamine, which was surrendered to the police.

A review of his criminal record shows prior convictions for drug possession, theft and domestic assault.

In Minnesota, felony theft-taking/driving a motor vehicle without owner consent carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Felony first-degree sales of 17 grams of more of cocaine or methamphetamine within a 90-day period carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000.

Kranz will appear in court again on Jan. 11.