Man arrested after stealing St. Cloud police squad car

A photo illustration of police lights. (FOX 9)

St. Cloud police arrested a 25-year-old man after he stole an unlocked police squad car Thursday night, according to St. Cloud police.

Around 7:15 p.m., officers responded to a Kwik Trip along County Road 120 on the report of a suspicious person. The officer spoke with the man outside the store and determined nothing criminal had happened, but when the officer went inside to speak with an employee, the man got in the squad car and drove off.

Stearns County dispatch traced the vehicle's GPS, which showed it went from St. Cloud through Waite Park and stopped at the Millstream Park in St. Joseph. Police did not follow the squad in an active pursuit.

Around 7:40 p.m., a St. Joseph police officer found the car abandoned by the park pavilion. The squad car was not damaged and no police equipment was taken.

Law enforcement began searching the area with a drone and K-9. At that time, a homeowner near the park called dispatch after they heard sounds in their basement. Officers responded, but the man had already left the unlocked basement shop area. Officials later found him hiding in a vehicle outside the home and arrested him.

No one was harmed in the incident.

The man was taken to Stearns County Jail.