Prosecutors have filed the first charges against a 41-year-old Minneapolis man who’s suspected of committing as many as 60 burglaries and then fleeing from police with a pregnant woman in his car.
Brian Stefan Williams is in Ramsey County jail on suspicion of second-degree burglary, fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle and possession of burglary or theft tools, according to a criminal complaint submitted by Ramsey County Sheriff’s Investigator Daniel Eggers.
He was arrested following an alarm at 1000 County Road E in Shoreview at 11:49 a.m. Sunday. A deputy initially went to the building. The deputy saw footprints by the front door but left because all the doors appeared secured and a key holder couldn’t be reached.
A short time later, Eden Prairie police told deputies that they had seen Williams leave the building and that they were chasing him.
Eden Prairie police had been investigating Williams for a connection to burglaries around the area and had surveillance on him for at least a week. They believed that his pattern was to burglarize businesses on Sundays and followed him to the Shoreview building.
Officers watched Williams enter the building, according to the criminal complaint. He was inside for about 20 minutes.
They confronted him when he left, identified themselves as officers, pointed their handguns at him and ordered him to stop. But they said he ignored their commands and fled to his vehicle.
Police officers followed him with lights and sirens on to Lexington Avenue, where Williams reportedly fled eastbound on 694 east at speeds up to 80 mph, according to the court documents.
He exited on Rice Street and headed south. Officers boxed him in with unmarked squad cars and arrested him at gunpoint.
They found a pregnant woman in the vehicle. She was taken to the hospital for unrelated pregnancy issues.
A search found $838 on Williams. His shoes also matched the footprints in front of the Shoreview building.
When officers were able to get inside the building, they found fresh pry marks on three office doors, according to the court documents. Nothing appeared to be missing from two of the suites, while the other had $100 missing.
A search of the vehicle found a screwdriver in the driver’s side door panel that could have made the pry marks in the building.
Williams told police a guy he only knew as “Butter” set him up to get in the building by sticking a piece of cardboard in the building’s front door to hold the lock open. He said he intended to enter some sort of architecture business and steal any type of Apple products he could find.
He denied trying to pry any doors open and said the door to the business had already been pried open. He heard a beeping that he recognized as an alarm and left the building.
Williams denied fleeing police. He said he saw an undercover vehicle activate its lights as he was heading north on Lexington Avenue toward 694—but added that he continued to drive because he didn’t know if officers were trying to stop him. He said he was then surrounded by six or seven unmarked squad cars.
He said he wanted to get some place close to a bathroom for the woman in his car.
Williams denied that the money he had was from a burglary.
Eden Prairie announced the day after Williams’ arrested that he’s thought to be responsible for as many as 60 business burglaries across the metro, including several in Eden Prairie. The community has seen a rash of business burglaries with similar characteristics. There were at least eight break-ins between Jan. 15 and Jan. 24 in which police found pry marks on the doors. In most cases, the burglars had left behind valuable items and took cash or nothing at all.
However, the charging documents only note the Shoreview burglary and investigators have so far declined to specify any other burglaries Williams is suspected in.
A Ramsey County Attorney’s Office spokesman said additional information is being reviewed for charging consideration.
Bail for Williams has been set at $60,000. If he’s convicted, he could receive up to:
- 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for the burglary charge,
- 3 years and one day in prison and a $5,000 fine for the fleeing police charge and
- 3 years in prison and a $5,000 fine for the charge of possession of burglary tools.