Hennepin County Sheriff's Office investigating how one of its vehicles ended up in Burnett County ditch

Updated: October 02, 2019 10:23 PM

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is trying to figure out how one its vehicles ended up empty in a ditch nearly 2 hours away.

A Burnett County deputy found it outside of Spooner over the weekend. The SUV was discovered off to the side of County Road G in Rusk Township.

On Saturday night, a deputy from Burnett County, Wisconsin happened upon the abandoned vehicle. After checking the plates, the deputy realized it wasn't just any vehicle, it was registered to Hennepin County and assigned to a law enforcement officer.

Sources confirmed it's Major Bob Staupe, a member of the command staff and a longtime deputy.

Hennepin County confirmed Staupe was on-call that night, meaning he was responsible for responding to any major emergency that happened in Hennepin County, which is 100+ miles away from where it was found.

Property records show Staupe owns a cabin nearby on a lake. Sources told KSTP the SUV was unmarked but is a full-fledged police car, which is usually equipped with emergency lights, a laptop, radios, and a patrol rifle with ammunition.

Burnett County impounded it for safe keeping until Hennepin County officials retrieved it.

A statement from Burnett County said, "the SUV wasn't reported stolen or missing and didn't appear to be damaged."

Sources confirmed to KSTP Wednesday night that Staupe has been demoted by the sheriff's office to lieutenant and is on leave.

KSTP reached out to Staupe Wednesday but has not yet heard back.

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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