A high-speed chase and ensuing manhunt involving two Wright County communities last week ended with two suspects in custody, and what police hope is a step in breaking a ring of thefts in the Monticello area recently.
According to charges filed in Wright County District Court on Friday, May 29:
The incident unfolded after 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, and ended about 90 minutes later after Wright County deputies, Minnesota State Patrol troopers and the MSP helicopter assisted in a manhunt in the Albertville industrial area that spilled into St. Michael.
The two men started the afternoon in Monticello, as suspect Jonathan Peltier, 32, of Columbia Heights attempted to sell a catalytic converter at Integrated Recycling Technologies (IRT) of Monticello. Owner David Owens contacted Wright County investigator Julie Eaton, alerting her to the attempted sale, and deputies were dispatched to intercept the man in his Cadillac Deville as he and another man attempted to leave the parking lot of IRT.
The driver of the Cadillac sedan evaded the initial deputies and led police on a high-speed chase through Monticello, attaining speeds of more than 90 miles per hour in the area of the Monticello High School. Wright County command staff terminated the pursuit – which at one point involved more than three WCSO cruisers – after the Cadillac driver forced another vehicle off the roadway.
Yet, as the men kept driving erratically eastward from Monticello to Albertville, citizens continued to call Wright County Dispatch, and deputies were able to keep tabs on the car. Eventually, the driver attempted to navigate the vehicle through Four Seasons Park in Albertville’s industrial area, but crashed into a tree.
Deputies again were able to get to the area as the two suspects – now identified as Peltier and 33-year-old Keith Klinke of Minneapolis – attempted to flee on foot. One of the two men was arrested after a short chase in the industrial area near Old Castle Envelope, with a deputy holding the man at gunpoint until reinforcements arrived to place the suspect under arrest.
The other man, however, led deputies and State Patrol officers on a chase through the swamp east of Barthel Industrial Boulevard, down to the BNSF railroad tracks and all the way eastward into St. Michael. Patrol officers called for the assistance of the State Patrol helicopter and K-9 police as they slowly closed the area around the man, finally arresting the second suspect around 4:35 p.m.
After searching the Cadillac, police found several tools used to steal catalytic converters from vehicles, including a Sawzall with attachments. A receipt for the sale of a commercial-sized catalytic converter was also found in the car, and investigators followed up with a phone call to another industrial recycler.
Klinke, later identified as the driver of the Deville, is facing felony charges of fleeing police and driving after the revocation of his license. The felony fleeing charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
Peltier was charged with possession of burglary tools, also a felony, and misdemeanor fleeing police.
More charges could be forthcoming as police investigate the two men. They’re also searching for a pair of things thrown from the vehicle, according to criminal charges filed in Wright County District Court.