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Apple Valley Man Charged With Fleeing Officers Across Church Lawn In Stolen Car

Gerald Lee Dettman, 39, is charged with two felonies in Hennepin County.

An Apple Valley man faces two felony charges after he allegedly stole a car and tried to flee police in it, driving through a South Minneapolis church lawn before he was stopped.

Gerald Lee Dettman, 39, was charged in Hennepin County Court with theft of a motor vehicle and fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle, according to a criminal complaint against him. He’s in custody at Hennepin County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.

On April 26, Minneapolis police responded to a report that a suspicious vehicle was parked outside a Minneapolis residence, according to the complaint. Police found the car was stolen, and DNA from cigarette butts in the car matched Dettman’s, the complaint says.

On May 25, police received information that Dettman was staying at a hotel on the 5700 block of Lyndale Avenue South, according to the complaint. One officer set up surveillance of a stolen car located at the hotel, while two officers patrolled the area in a marked squad car, the complaint says.

The first officer reported that he saw a person get into the vehicle and drive away; the vehicle passed in front of the officer, who identified the person as Dettman, the complaint says.

The squad car drove after the vehicle for one mile with its sirens on, but the driver, allegedly Dettman, didn’t stop until driving down a dead-end street and through a church lawn on the 500 block of West 54th Street in Minneapolis, according to the complaint.

Dettman allegedly told police, “I already got ten felonies, I know I’m going to prison,” the complaint reads.

Dettman has 19 previous cases on file in the Minnesota court system, court records show, and has been convicted of several crimes in Hennepin, Scott, Dakota and Ramsey counties, including thefts of motor vehicles, burglaries, lurking, stalking, check forgery and credit card fraud.

The maximum penalty Dettman could face if convicted of both charges in this case is eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine. His first court appearance is on June 14.

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