Police footchase ends at Lake Superior Zoo

Authorities arrested a man outside the zoo’s veterinary clinic after he allegedly stole a trailer from a Proctor business.


DULUTH — A man was arrested Monday after allegedly stealing a trailer and leading police on a footchase that ended at Lake Superior Zoo.

A worker at Troy’s Service Center in downtown Proctor noticed a truck hauling a single-axle trailer past their shop, taking a right off Second Street and onto U.S. Highway 2 toward Duluth. It was allegedly the same trailer they were supposed to be preparing for disposal on behalf of a customer, owner Ryan Mathieu told the News Tribune on Tuesday afternoon.

Staff called 911, and Mathieu took off after the truck and trailer, which he found with its hood up on West Skyline Parkway at its intersection with Highway 2. He told service center staff where he was, and police arrived less than two minutes later, Mathieu said.

When officers attempted to arrest the man who had been towing the trailer, he fled into nearby woods.

The suspect jumped into nearby Kingsbury Creek, police claimed. The creek flows south and east through the zoo before draining into the St. Louis River. The suspect got into the zoo, which was closed at the time, and police ultimately arrested him outside the zoo’s veterinary clinic.


Zoo cameras saw him walking along footpaths until he was arrested outside the clinic, according to Haley Hedstrom, the zoo’s CEO. The man did not enter any animal habitats or other zoo buildings, Hedstrom said.

The Duluth Police Department said in a news release the suspect was arrested in a “fenced-in” area.

“We have a full perimeter fence that was breached by this person,” said Caroline Routley, the zoo’s marketing manager.

The News Tribune generally does not name people suspected of a crime until they’ve been formally charged.

The suspect is lodged at the St. Louis County Jail on preliminary charges of felony theft and fleeing a police officer, a misdemeanor.

This story was updated at 3:04 p.m. April 11 with additional details from Proctor police and a witness. It was originally posted at 12:38 p.m. April 11.

Joe Bowen is an award-winning reporter at the Duluth News Tribune. He covers schools and education across the Northland.

You can reach him at:
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