Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Cops Arrest Man Who Taunted Them
With, "You Can't Catch Me."
From the Duluth News Tribune:
Antonio Thomas Robledo was in a bad way Friday night when he called 911.
His roommate had kicked him out. He had nowhere to go. He said he had been drinking. And he wondered if Duluth Police had any suggestions on a place to stay.
But when they suggested the CHUM homeless shelter, Robledo got mad and hung up, police said. Then he allegedly stole a car, stole some gas, led police on a car chase and a foot chase and taunted the officers chasing him by calling 911 on his cell phone — all before being arrested in a shed, kicking three officers and tearing up the back seat of a squad car.
“Our guys were thinking alcohol or maybe mental issues or drugs. It was really strange behavior,’’ Duluth Police Lt. Scott Jenkins said Sunday.
Robledo, 23, is in the St. Louis County Jail, a place he’s familiar with, awaiting a court hearing on multiple felony charges from the night’s activities.
Here is a timeline of events, according to police:
* 10 p.m. Friday: The series of bizarre events started, Jenkins said, when someone who identified himself as Tony called 911 to say he had been evicted by his roommate and needed a place to stay.
“He apparently didn’t like the officer’s suggestion of CHUM, so he hung up on us,’’ Jenkins said.
* 1 a.m. Saturday: Employees at the Holiday gas station at Interstate 35 and 27th Avenue West called 911 to report the driver of a black Audi drove off without paying for gas.
The employees were one digit off on the license plate number, but police continued running numbers and eventually traced the car to a Lincoln Park/West End owner who hadn’t realized his car had been stolen.
* 2:05 a.m.: A Duluth squad spotted what is believed to be the stolen Audi downtown near Pizza Luce, apparently unoccupied. The officer watched the car until someone walked near the vehicle. Believing that person was the suspect, the officer attempted to block the car in.
At that point, a man who had been lying down in the car sat up and drove off. The pedestrian kept walking and wasn’t involved.
The officer started to pursue and pulled the Audi over on the Lake Avenue viaduct over I-35. The Audi stopped. The officer walked up to the passenger window and ordered the man out. The suspect then sped off northbound on I-35.
“The officer said, ‘You are under arrest,’ and he said, ‘No, I’m not,’ and he took off,’’ Jenkins said. “The officer asked for permission to pursue, but our pursuit policy doesn’t allow that in all cases, and the supervisor decided not to allow it. … This was bar [closing] time, and they didn’t want someone else getting hurt because of this guy, who we didn’t think was a threat to public safety.’’
The officer lost track of the speeding Audi at the end of I-35 at London Road. But officers converged on the area to continue the search.
* 2:54 a.m.: 911 operators traced the earlier call to Robledo’s cell phone through his cell phone company. Police began to connect the earlier call and the stolen car.
* 3:53 a.m.: Robledo called 911 again and said, “You think you can catch me? You can’t catch me.’’ After taunting police, he hung up. Police, already searching in the area, used cell phone coordinates to determine the general whereabouts of Robledo, based on the cell phone tower used for the call.
* 3:59 a.m.: Robledo called 911 again, again to taunt officers on how he was so much smarter than them. Robledo at one point claimed to have a .45 caliber handgun, but police discounted that claim.
“He claimed [to 911] to be homicidal, not suicidal. We always take that seriously. But we had no reason to believe he was armed,’’ Jenkins said.
* 4:37 a.m.: A Minnesota State Patrol officer helping in the search found the abandoned Audi stuck in a yard near 36th Avenue East and Old Howard Mill Road. Police and K9 units began tracking footprints in the snow. The temperature was about 14 below zero.
As many as 10 officers were involved in the search at one point, Jenkins said.
* 4:46 a.m.: A homeowner on nearby Ridgewood Road called to say someone rang her doorbell and was now in her garage and lurking near her car. Police converged on the scene, but Robledo fled on foot before they arrive.
“We’re guessing he was either looking for a new ride [car to steal] or was cold and looking to warm up,’’ Jenkins said.
* 5 a.m.: A neighbor reported that a man entered their shed. Police converged on the shed and ordered Robledo out. He refused. Police were forced to enter the shed and pull him out. Robledo kicked two officers, slightly injuring one, before he was subdued.
* 5:07 a.m.: Police reported they placed Robledo in a squad car, but not before he kicked a third officer.
* 5:38 a.m.: Robledo was booked in the St. Louis County Jail in Duluth, but not before tearing up the back seat of the squad car on the way, Jenkins said.
Jenkins praised not only the watchful eye of residents who reported the man, as well as the gas station employees, but also the unrelenting police work by officers on a bitterly cold night.
“We had guys who really didn’t want to give up. And we had residents calling in and doing the right thing,’’ he said. ‘That’s how it’s supposed to work.’’
Robledo is believed to be from the Twin Cities area and a former resident of a Duluth teen residential juvenile treatment center who decided to stay in the area, police said.
Robledo has had frequent contact with local law enforcement. Exactly one year before the incident — on Feb. 28, 2008 — he pleaded guilty to burglarizing homes in eastern Duluth. He received a sentence of24 months and was given credit for 4½ months. But he was back on the street 12 months later.
That had Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay a bit miffed Sunday. Ramsay said Robledo is known, although not famous, among Duluth police.
“I was upset seeing that he apparently didn’t even do half the time he was sentenced to for the burglaries. That bothers me,’’ Ramsay said. “So much of our crime is committed by the same people over and over again… We’ve had an increase in stolen cars and it might be due to just one or two people.’
Labels: Dumb Criminals
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