A call to the Shakopee Police from a resident about seeing a prowler check car doors initiated a chain of events that led to the arrest of a St. Paul man with a long criminal record.
Chad Downs, 32, has been charged with first-degree burglary, theft and receiving stolen property, which are all felonies, after police arrested him Saturday, Dec. 29.
According to the police complaint, the initial call to Shakopee Police came at about 5:55 a.m. The caller provided police with a description of the suspect seen in the 7000 block of Edington Circle. Officer Thor Carlson responded to the area and began to search for him.
At 8:03 a.m., police received a report of a suspicious male who was walking through yards. The suspect was reported to be just a few blocks away from Carlson. A resident on Cambridge Road also provided Carlson with a description of the man, said to be wearing a baseball cap and carrying a black backpack. While Carlson followed footprints in the snow Officer Mitch Mullenbach arrived to participate in the search.
“Since the neighborhood had numerous burglaries, theft, and car prowlers over the last several months, the neighbors had set up a Facebook page to advise others of suspicious activity,” according to the complaint.
One neighbor posted the description of the suspect on the Facebook page with a note that police were searching in the area. Police were then notified that a man who matched the description had been seen walking along a path toward County Road 21. Upon following the path, Mullenbach saw the man, identified as Chad Downs, near a townhome on Old Carriage Court. A black backpack and a black bag were left on the railing of the townhome near the man.
Downs denied that he owned the bags, but admitted that he intended to steal them. He told police that he was waiting for his girlfriend to pick him up at the nearby gas station. When Officer Carlson arrived—having followed the footprints—police discovered that tread on Down’s shoes matched the tread of the footprints.
His girlfriend stated that she did not know why Downs was in Shakopee and the residents in the townhome did not know anything about the bags.
Police found several items on Downs, including 190 pennies, 56 dimes, 40 quarters, gift cards, cigarettes, mints, and two tickets to Snocross at Canterbury Park. In the backpack and bag, police found sports clothing, a Garmin GPS with case, a laptop, an iPod Nano, clothing, a candy bar and other items. The total value of the property found was $1,500.
Police have found the owners to some of the items and continue to look for the owners of the other items.
Said Police Chief Jeff Tate, “This case illustrates how important it is to have the community work with us when they see something going on in their neighborhood. Based on the information they provided our officers, we were able to track this individual and eventually apprehend him. I would add that the officer did an outstanding job of putting this case together and accounting for all of the stolen property he recovered.”
Downs plead not guilty on all three counts. His next court date is an omnibus hearing on Jan. 31.
If convicted Downs faces up to 20 years in prison, a $35,000 fine, or both for the first-degree burglary charge. For each of the felony theft and receiving stolen property charges, Downs could receive up to 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Down's record includes traffic violations and burglary convictions in 2002 and 2009.