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Update: Alleged Pierce County crime spree involved 3 auto thefts, 2 guns, 1 foot chase

Chase G. Kohl, 33

Authorities said a River Falls man was responsible for a crime spree involving three stolen vehicles, two guns and a burglary — all in the span of about an hour in rural Pierce County.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the suspect after a foot chase through a field, where he allegedly tried grabbing at an officer’s gun before being brought under control.

Prosecutors on Monday, April 9, charged the suspect, Chase G. Kohl, 33, with nine crimes, including armed carjacking, burglary, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, auto theft, criminal property damage and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Kohl was ordered to post $500 cash bond during his initial appearance Tuesday. He remained in custody as of Thursday afternoon.

According to a criminal complaint:

Deputies were called at 8:44 p.m. April 7 to N8015 690th St. in the town of Martell for a stolen vehicle complaint, with Kohl named as the suspect. The complainant in that case, Kohl’s father, said Kohl had driven off about 10 minutes earlier.

While deputies were responding, dispatchers took a second call from a man at N8021 Highway 10, who reported a man had pulled a gun on him and stole his pickup, a 2007 Dodge Ram.

Deputies went to the Highway 10 home at 8:57 p.m., where the complainant said he’d been working in his shop when his dogs started barking. Hearing the apparent sound of car doors from outside, the man looked out the shop window and saw someone getting into his truck.

The man ran outside and yelled “hey” at the suspect. The suspect stepped out of the truck and pointed a long gun toward the man.

The complainant “put his hands up, backed away and dove back into his shop,” the complaint states.

A deputy inspected a car left behind by the suspect — the Pontiac G6 reported stolen from his father’s house — and spotted a long gun inside it. The deputy talked it over with the complainant and concluded that gun had to have been different from the one the suspect pointed at him.

As the incident was unfolding, deputies learned from Kohl’s father that two long guns were missing from his house.

At 9:43 p.m., dispatchers took a report of a truck near Highway 63 and County Road VV in Hager City that had swerved into a ditch before driving into a field. That truck, found abandoned in a field, was determined stolen from a third location — W7662 450th Ave. in the town of Trimbelle. The stolen Dodge Ram was found damaged and left running at the 450th Avenue property. It appeared to have crashed into a shed there.

Deputies checked the Highway 63 area in Hager City and eventually found a man identified on sight as Kohl walking along the highway. The deputy backed up and Kohl took off running into a field, where the deputy gave chase on foot.

Kohl tripped in the field and was grabbed by the deputy. While struggling, Kohl “attempted multiple times to pull on my firearm,” deputy Rick Huneke wrote in his report. He eventually brought Kohl under control and cuffed him.

A second long gun was found in the area Kohl had been running through.

While being driven to jail, Kohl dropped what he admitted was a pipe. Kohl, who at first claimed he didn’t understand his Miranda rights, was described as “twitching and jerking” in the deputy’s custody and having dilated pupils.

The deputy suspected Kohl was high on meth and asked him if he was. Kohl told the officer he’d eaten 2.5 grams of the drug while being chased by officers.

Kohl was first taken to River Falls Area Hospital for a blood draw. He “started to freak out” during the process, fearing the nurse was going to “put things in him,” according to the charging document.

Kohl was eventually jailed.

A separate complaint filed against Kohl this week alleges he damaged jail fire sprinkler equipment on April 9. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal property damage in that case and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Kohl did not enter a plea in the felony case.

He has a preliminary hearing set for May 29.

Wisconsin court records show previous convictions for Kohl dating back to 2007. Convictions include resisting or obstructing an officer, methamphetamine possession and burglary.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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