One of the goats gnawing on invasive species along the Mississippi River bluff in St. Paul was kidnapped and taken for a high-speed ride early Friday.
St. Paul police found the goat named Gordy in the back of an SUV after a 2-mile chase, police spokesman Steve Linders said. Gordy had an orange extension cord wrapped around his neck.
Jake Langeslag, owner of Faribault-based Goat Dispatch, which is renting the goats to St. Paul, said Gordy, a Nubian dairy goat, is one of the most popular of the 150 goats on his farm.
“He’s a real good buckthorn-eater and he’s a good thistle-eater,” Langeslag said. “He’s a very friendly goat, so that’s why we thought he was more likely to be captured.”
The incident began as police were patrolling near Indian Mounds Park just before 1 a.m. and a Yukon Denali blew through a stop sign, almost hitting the marked police car. When officers tried to pull over the vehicle, the driver sped away. About 2 miles later, the driver lost control and hit a car parked in the driveway of a home, Linders said.
Four men then jumped from the Denali, which was still moving, and ran. Police caught two 29-year-old men then found Gordy in the cargo area of the vehicle. Gordy was unharmed.
Back at the park, police saw that the double fencing containing the other 34 members of Gordy’s crew had been damaged.
“Several of his colleagues had escaped,” Linders said. The goats didn’t get far. Police and park security were able to goad them safely behind the fencing.
Two 29-year-old men were arrested on potential charges of gross misdemeanor theft and fleeing police. They are being held in the Ramsey County jail.
Since Tuesday, the animals have been munching away on unwanted vegetation inside a fenced section of Mississippi River parkland. The lightweight four-legged creatures can easily navigate the craggy bluffs and they love to snack.
Gordy was back home Friday on the farm and ate a hearty breakfast. “He doesn’t seem traumatized at all,” Langeslag said. “These goats are used to being moved in trailers.”
But he was taken off the job so Langeslag could keep a close eye on him. “We take their health and well-being very seriously.”
Hazel took Gordy’s place on the job in St. Paul.
Both Langeslag and St. Paul Parks spokeswoman Clare Cloyd said security for the goats was substantial but will be enhanced.
As an added layer, Langelsag encouraged the goat-curious to go see the animals at work, take pictures and post them on the social media accounts for Goat Dispatch. “The more people and the more times of day people are going there, the better,” he said, adding that the goats shouldn’t be fed or touched.
For future observers, the goats with green tags are male. The girls wear pink tags.
Except for this incident and a decades-old episode of the TV show the “Brady Bunch,” goat stealing is unusual. Langeslag said this is the first time one of his flock was abducted from the job.
Just like Gordy, the live goat mascot Greg Brady abducted from a rival high school survived brief captivity in the eldest son’s attic bedroom. The mascot was returned safely to his home school.