SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Authorities in the Twin Cities say they’ve arrested a 34-year-old man in connection to the weekend van theft where an award-winning dog was kenneled inside.
The South St. Paul Police Department confirmed that a suspect was arrested Tuesday afternoon in St. Paul. WCCO-TV does not typically name suspects until they’ve been formally charged.
The man was arrested in connection to the theft of a van Saturday morning outside the Envision Hotel. Inside the van was a Boxer named Jasper. His owner, Michelle Baker, drove up from Iowa to show him in the Land O’ Lakes Kennel Club Dog Show at the St. Paul River Centre.
Jasper was kenneled in the back of the van when it was stolen. Baker posted pleas on social media, saying that whoever took the van could keep it, she just wanted Jasper back.
South St. Paul police released a hotel surveillance image of a person of interest in the case. The Wintz family of St. Paul recognized the person and knew where he lived. The family worked with Baker, who had returned to Iowa, and found the missing van on Monday night.
Inside the van was Jasper. James Wintz asked Baker’s permission to break the van’s window and got inside. Jasper was shivering in the back. He may have been in the vehicle since Saturday morning, enduring below-freezing temperatures.
The Wintz family wrapped Jasper in a blanket and gave him food and water. Later, Baker’s friend picked up Jasper and brought him back to Iowa.
The case remains under investigation by the South St. Paul Police Department.