AP NEWS

Man who stabbed police dog sentenced to time served

June 1, 2017 GMT

WABASHA — The man who ended up naked in a tree after leading law enforcement on a wild chase, then stabbing a police dog, was convicted of two felonies Tuesday.

Shane Michael Cronin, 27, of Lake City, pleaded guilty in April to one count each of harming a public safety dog and motor vehicle theft.

Wabasha County District Court Judge Terrence Walters sentenced him to two concurrent jail terms of 145 days each, with credit for 145 days already served, and placed him on 10 years probation.

Cronin also was ordered to pay fines and restitution in the amount of $13,330.91, court records show.

After his sentencing Tuesday, Cronin was held on an Olmsted County warrant, said Jacob Barnes, assistant Wabasha County Attorney. After the local matter is resolved, Cronin will be transferred to Kansas, where he will likely serve prison time for a violation there.

The case against Cronin actually began a month before the chase, when a woman reported her car, a firearm and much of her jewelry had been stolen from her home. She suspected Cronin, who’d been at the residence earlier that day.

Lake City police noted signs of forced entry to the woman’s home, found a ring near the back door and an earring on the deck.

A neighbor told officers she’d seen Cronin that morning at the garage door, punching numbers into the keypad of the home.

An arrest warrant was issued about a week after the Dec. 6 incident when authorities failed to find Cronin, whom they believed was armed.

About 5 p.m. Jan. 5, a Goodhue County Sheriff’s deputy spotted Cronin driving the stolen car near Mazeppa and briefly gave chase, the complaint says, but discontinued the pursuit when he entered Wabasha County.

Two deputies from that county and a Plainview police officer joined the pursuit at Zumbro Falls, continuing on U.S. Highway 60 toward U.S. Highway 63 at speeds from 30 mph to 70 mph.

About 5:45 p.m., Cronin lost control and bailed out of the vehicle west of Hammond on Wabasha County Road 11. Goodhue County Deputy Matt Bowron released his police dog Ambush, who chased Cronin into a wooded area.

A short time later, officers heard the dog yelping loudly, court documents say, and found him lying on his side, bleeding from a large wound. Veterinary records indicate the injury was consistent with a stabbing, and metallic pieces were found in the dog’s wound.

As officers set up a perimeter in the area and continued to track Cronin, they eventually came across his shoes, then his jacket, then his jeans. The temperature at the time was about 10 degrees below zero, with wind chills well below that.

Cronin eventually was found in a tree. He was arrested without further incident and taken by ambulance to a Rochester hospital for treatment of a dog bite and hypothermia, then released into custody.

Other items reportedly found in Cronin’s wake included a bag of marijuana, a bag with more than a gram of methamphetamine and a copy of the stolen car’s title.

Additional felony charges of second-degree burglary and theft in connection with the Lake City burglary were dismissed at sentencing, as were felony counts of fleeing a peace officer and fifth-degree controlled substance crime in connection with the Jan. 5 incident.

A Wabasha County deputy who accidentally was bitten by Ambush during the struggle was seen at a Rochester hospital and released after receiving stitches for puncture wounds.

Ambush, who is 4, underwent surgery at a veterinary hospital in Rochester. He went home afterward and since has recovered enough to return to active duty.