Man in court after stealing about 70 items from Walmart, leading police on high speed chase
A Waubun man made his first appearance Monday in Becker County District Court on a felony charge of fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.
Michael Gene Weaver, 42, of 39187 295th Ave. S., Waubun, is also facing a misdemeanor property theft charge in connection with an Aug. 3 incident that started in the parking lot at Walmart in Detroit Lakes.
According to the criminal complaint, a theft was reported by the staff at Walmart, and a suspect vehicle was identified. The officer who responded to the complaint spotted the suspect vehicle parked in the lot at Walmart, and noted that the vehicle was "nearly full" with groceries, which had been covered with a cloth.
The officer approached the vehicle and knocked on the vehicle. Weaver, the driver, opened the car window about two inches, but refused to open the door. The exterior door handle on the driver's side had been broken off. Weaver was then asked by the officer to produce a receipt for the purchases, which he could not, according to the complaint.
The officer repeatedly asked Weaver to get out of the car, which he refused to do. He then allegedly started up the vehicle despite being told by the officer that he was not free to leave, then put the vehicle in gear and left the parking lot.
After proceeding east on Highway 10, Weaver then reportedly turned north onto Highway 59 and accelerated rapidly. A high speed chase ensued, involving several law enforcement officers and reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, according to the complaint.
Weaver allegedly drove around some stop sticks placed on the road in an attempt to stop the vehicle at the Highway 59/153 intersection, and the chase continued until his vehicle was reportedly forced to a stop at the powwow grounds in White Earth.
According to the complaint, Weaver resisted attempts to place him under arrest, but after the arresting officer put him inside the squad car and drove away, he allegedly apologized repeatedly for fleeing the scene.
Inside the suspect vehicle, officers reportedly recovered about 70 items, all of them having been reported stolen from Walmart. The value of the stolen items was estimated at about $394.
Weaver is currently in custody at the Becker County Jail awaiting his next court appearance, at an Aug. 20 Rule 8 hearing. His bail was set at $25,000 with conditions, or $60,000 without conditions.