A Waseca man is jailed after police say he stole two vehicles on Thursday, forced his way into a fitness facility, changed clothes at some point, and led police on a brief chase – all in under two hours.
Mankato Department of Public Safety Commander Dan Schisel said the first victim parked their vehicle in a lot on the Minnesota State University – Mankato campus after having some mechanical trouble but when they came back, “They noticed the vehicle was gone and they reported it to us as being stolen.”
Not long after police were called to the Build N Tone fitness center on Bunting Lane after a man finished his workout and found that his duffle bag, which contained his keys, had been stolen. “He went to the lot to look and see if his vehicle was there and his vehicle was gone – it was a 2018 Ford pickup,” Schisel explained.
Schisel said the vehicle stolen in the earlier incident was found parked in the same parking lot and the door to the fitness facility had been jimmied open.
Investigators tracked the pickup down using a cell phone app and Schisel said they arrived at the MSU lot just as 30-year-old Tyler Clayton was backing the truck out. He said, “The vehicle then went in reverse, hitting a parked motor vehicle leaving that parking lot. The officer then pursued the vehicle, which went out of Lot 16 onto several streets.”
The chase ended when Clayton lost control of the vehicle on Balcerzak Drive and crashed into a tree, and Schisel said a small fire started in the engine compartment — which an officer was able to put out with a fire extinguisher.
Due to a previous conviction, Clayton is barred from possessing a weapon or ammunition and Schisel said a loaded magazine – but no gun – was found in the vehicle.
He was arrested and faces preliminary charges that may include driving while under the influence, motor vehicle theft, illegal possession of ammunition, burglary, running from police, and driving on a revoked license.