Brandi Jewett, Forum Communications, Published August 05 2012
UPDATED: Police search for Grand Forks man connected with Friday, Sunday car chases
The suspect, Juan Angel Robles, 31, was not caught by police. He was last seen about 2:30 p.m. Sunday heading southbound on Interstate 29 near Gardner, N.D., driving a stolen light blue 1998 Ford Expedition.
Lt. Roger Pohlman confirmed that Robles is also the suspect in a Friday car chase in Grand Forks that left several vehicles damaged and one person with minor injuries.
Robles is described as 5’7” tall with brown eyes and short brown hair. He was last seen wearing a dark T-shirt and dark shorts.
Authorities ask that anyone who knows the location of Robles to not contact him and call their local law enforcement agency or the Grand Forks Police Department at 701-787-8000.
Sunday afternoon at about 12:40 p.m., police received a report of a stolen vehicle from the parking lot of 1639 28th Ave. S. The vehicle, a Ford Expedition, was located 20 minutes later in the parking lot of 2149 30th Ave. S.
Police said when they approached the vehicle, Robles re-entered the SUV and tried to leave the parking lot. In his attempt to flee, Robles struck an officer with the vehicle’s passenger side rearview mirror. The officer —who was dragged by the vehicle for a short distance — fired a shot at the suspect.
The rear window of the Expedition was shattered, but whether or not it was from a bullet or the result of the vehicle striking a garage that caused the damage is still under investigation, Pohlman said. The officer who was struck did not have any visible injuries.
Robles left the lot and police pursued him, driving eastbound on 32 Avenue South, northbound on South Washington and to the 1000 block of Chestnut Street.
The vehicle was seen heading northbound on Cottonwood Street from 17th Avenue South when officers lost sight of it about 1:20 p.m. A helicopter was called in to assist in the search for Robles and the vehicle.
A report of a vehicle matching the stolen SUV’s description was involved in a drive-off at the Cenex Station on Gateway Drive around 1:45 p.m., Pohlman said. The vehicle left the gas station and headed west on Gateway Drive.
At 2:23 p.m., an off-duty GFPD officer reported a southbound motorist driving recklessly on Interstate 29 near Gardner, N.D., to the Public Safety Answering Point. The vehicle description matched the stolen vehicle driven by Robles and the North Dakota Highway Patrol was notified.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol later reported seeing the vehicle entering Fargo. Pohlman said the GFPD received a call from the Fargo Police Department confirming they have located the stolen vehicle, but not Robles.
Robles has also been pegged as the suspect in a police chase that occurred Friday.
At 2:41 p.m., a police officer noticed a suspicious Chrysler 300, confirmed to be driven by Robles, in the 4000 block of Cherry Street.
The car was spotted again, this time driving recklessly near 47th Avenue South and South Washington. The officer attempted to stop the car and gave chase when Robles refused to stop, but had to end the pursuit because of the danger it would pose to the public.
The Chrysler was seen again by an off-duty officer after it struck a vehicle in the 2800 block of South 17 Street and sped away. It was involved in another accident at 17th Avenue and Washington, of which Robles left the scene.
Robles was pursued by a U.S. Border Patrol Agent into the area of Cottonwood Street and 10th Avenue South where he abandoned the vehicle and disappeared.
The case remains under investigation. Charges for Robles are pending for reckless endangerment and theft of a motor vehicle. He has prior convictions for speeding, careless driving and for failure to display current registration, plates or tabs.
Robes is due in court Thursday for his initial appearance for charges of driving without liability insurance.
Brandi Jewett writes for the Grand Forks Herald