St. Paul man arrested for assault, vehicle theft in southern Minnesota

A St. Paul man was arrested Wednesday morning in connection to an assault and vehicle theft in southern Minnesota.

New Ulm Police said officers and Brown County deputies responded to a McDonald’s at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday after a victim reported that a man walked up to his window and punched him in the face in the drive-thru line. The suspect then ran away.

Then, at 9:14 p.m., police were called to a Kwik Trip on a report that a white SUV, believed to be a retired law enforcement vehicle, had been stolen. An officer and a deputy recalled seeing the vehicle traveling south on Broadway Street while on their previous call, police said. The owner of the SUV also advised that a handgun was stored in the vehicle’s glove compartment.

Area agencies were notified and, at about 11:45 p.m., the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office located the SUV unoccupied on Highway 169 near the Faribault County line. However, the glove compartment was open and the gun was missing.

Officers investigated and identified 32-year-old Matthew Dennis Smith as the suspect.

On Wednesday at about 9 a.m., Blue Earth deputies responded to the Amboy area on a report of a suspicious person that matched Smith’s description. He was taken into custody and transported to Brown County Jail.

Police said they believe the incidents are related. The gun had not been recovered as of Wednesday afternoon.

An investigation is ongoing.