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Confiscated cars seized again in robbery attempt

Cars confiscated six months ago after seven people were arrested and charged with shoplifting at Walmart and Ortons were claimed last week by individuals from Milwaukee.

The parties drove the vehicles to Long Prairie where they allegedly robbed a gas station and tire store, according to Park Rapids Police Chief Terry Eilers.

The seven arrested six months ago, ranging in age from 17 to 50, were issued tickets and the cars were confiscated. Search warrants were issued and several thousands of dollars in merchandise was found in the Jaguar and Cadillac Escalade. Items found in the cars were traced back to robberies at Walmart in Baxter and Grand Rapids, Eilers said.

After their arrest, the suspects spent a night in a local hotel and then headed back to Milwaukee, leaving the cars behind, Eilers said.

The suspects hired a local attorney, Eilers said, and were suing the city for taking the cars. The suit was subsequently dropped.

The Park Rapids Police Department sent several letters notifying the suspects they were to appear in court and claim the cars.

Last week an agreement was reached and three or four individuals who were not involved in the Park Rapids incident arrived in a van to claim the cars, Eilers said.

They drove 70 miles to Long Prairie and spoke with a lone employee at a gas station, asking to see tires, stating they experienced a flat tire.

The attendant, at their request, changed the tire, but warned them the tire was not the correct size, according to Long Prairie Leader newspaper publisher Jason Brown.

Meanwhile, one of them allegedly went through the till, Eilers said, confiscating an undisclosed amount of cash.

The group, which included children, according to Brown, was last seen heading south on Highway 71.