Feb. 19—Alexander John Thompson stole a car in Lakeville, then headed south toward Northfield, authorities say.
But his luck ran out in Greenvale Township, north of Northfield in rural Dakota County.
For reasons still not known, authorities say, Thompson pulled up to a home off 320th Street, opened a pole barn overhead door and parked the silver 2011 Volvo C30 inside. Unbeknownst to Thompson, the homeowners are two retired police officers. They quickly detained the 31-year-old.
"He could have chosen any house," said Jeff Leopold, a Dakota County sheriff's office captain. "So this was very bad luck. But good luck for us."
Thompson of Minneapolis was booked into Dakota County jail Jan. 30 on suspicion of burglary, auto theft, giving a false name to a peace officer and driving after cancellation.
The next day, Thompson was charged with auto theft. At an initial court hearing on Feb. 1, Dakota County District Judge David Lutz set Thompson's bail at $5,000 without conditions, $3,000 with conditions; he remained jailed Friday.
According to Lakeville police, an Eden Prairie man reported the morning of Jan. 30 that someone stole his Volvo overnight at a home in the 16000 block of Firestone Way in Lakeville. He told an officer the car had been locked with a key-fob inside.
Just before 5 p.m., a retired Prior Lake police officer reported a burglary and suspicious person at her Greenvale Township home in the 7800 block of 320th Street West. Her husband is a former Army combat veteran and retired New Mexico police officer.
She said they were about to leave their house when they saw a suspicious man, later identified as Thompson, on their property and an apparent stolen car in their pole barn, according to the criminal complaint.
She said Thompson approached her and asked for a ride somewhere. She declined. Her husband walked over and started asking Thompson questions, while she went inside for handcuffs. The retired officers put them on Thompson and brought him to the pole barn while they waited for a sheriff's deputy, Leopold said.
Thompson initially told the deputy his name was that of the man who owns the stolen car, according to the complaint and a Lakeville police report. The car was towed and a records search showed that it was just stolen.
Thompson said he parked the car in the pole barn because it was starting to break down, according to Leopold, who added "we don't know if that was true, because his story kept changing."
Thompson has a lengthy criminal history that goes back to 2017 and includes multiple felony convictions for drug and theft offenses.
At the time of his arrest in Dakota County, he was wanted in Wright County for not showing up to a court hearing related to a felony theft case.
Thompson also faces a separate auto theft charge in Dakota County for allegedly stealing a 2011 Ford Edge SUV from the Walmart in Hastings on Jan. 27. He wasn't charged until after his Jan. 30 arrest in Greenvale Township.
At a court hearing Thursday in Dakota County, Thompson requested and was granted a public defender. He is due back in court March 16.