Holdingford man arrested, charged in connection to Stearns County burglary

The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office says a man is in custody and faces several charges in connection to a burglary that occurred Thursday monring.

The sheriff’s office said at about 6:58 a.m., the Stearns County 911 Communications Center received a report of a burglary that had just occurred. The victim said he discovered a man who had broken into his garage and stolen several of his tools which he loaded into a white truck. The victim said he confronted the man, who claimed he had a knife, and then punched the victim several times in the face.

The suspect fled the scene in a white Chevrolet pickup truck.

A deputy responding to the call located the suspect’s truck in the area of County Road 17, east of Highway 238 in Krain Township, traveling eastbound. The deputy attempted to stop the truck, as the truck did initially comply but fled again a few moments later, according to law enforcement. As the suspect was fleeing the stop, he forced another vehicle off the road and into a ditch. That driver was not injured. The truck continued eastbound on County Road 17 towards Holdingford.

The sheriff’s office says additional deputies were responding to the area as well. One deputy was waiting by the Wobegon Trail, in Holdingford, and witnessed a white pickup truck turn off the road onto a side street and parked. The suspect then fled the vehicle to a building located on the 500 block of Main Street, which contains several apartments.

The suspect was seen entering one of the units. Deputies on scene established a perimeter to contain the suspect until additional units arrived.

Authorities learned this location is where the suspect lived. A search warrant was obtained, and Stearns County negotiators attempted to make contact with the suspect. Those efforts turned out to be unsuccessful. Eventually, the Stearns County SWAT team made entry into the apartment. After the suspect continued to be unresponsive to verbal commands, a K9 assisted in gaining entry into the apartment and the man was taken into custody shortly after 11 a.m.

The suspect is identified as 35-year-old Christopher Kleve, of Holdingford.

An investigation indicates that the pickup truck Kleve was driving had been stolen earlier from a residence in the 29000 block of County Road 17 in Millwood Township. While the original call continued to evolve, the 911 center received an additional call regarding the theft of a snowmobile from an address located on Sunset Beach Road, also in Millwood Township, just west of the location where the truck was stolen. The truck was later to be discovered stolen from an original address in Sauk Centre. The sheriff’s office says Kleve is believed to have committed a gas drive off early in the evening hours Wednesday in Albany and his vehicle was later found on County Road 186, just southeast of the city limits of Sauk Centre.

Kleve has been booked into the Stearns County Jail on two counts of second-degree burglary, fleeing police in a motor vehicle and criminal damage to property. At this time, the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office says additional charges are pending the conclusion of the investigation.