A Lakeville man who stole his mother’s car and drove aimlessly around the Twin Cities with his girlfriend and their two young children for five days last fall pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony theft.
Zachariah Daniel Wilson, 39, was sentenced to 17 months in prison, to be served concurrently with his previous convictions for threats of violence and second-degree driving while intoxicated (DWI). Gross misdemeanor child neglect charges were dropped in the case against Wilson and his girlfriend, Angela Dee Robinson, 34.
Authorities charged the couple with theft by temporary control and child endangerment in October after accusations that they shuttled their children around for days without bathing them or changing their clothes, and often depriving them of food.
The family of four was found in south Minneapolis following a short police chase — five days after Wilson’s mother reported them missing in her vehicle.
Police found a syringe and an unknown substance in the car’s center console, according to the criminal complaint. Officers detected a strong odor from the children, ages 4 and 7, who appeared “filthy” and hadn’t bathed since they left their grandmother’s house, where they live with Robinson. Wilson was not allowed in the home, documents show.
Robinson, a recovering heroin addict taking methadone, sneaked Wilson into the house one night. When Wilson’s mother discovered him, the couple left in her car.
A delivery worker who saw a suspicious vehicle parked by a south Minneapolis loading dock around 3 a.m. called police after watching Robinson smack a child in the back seat, according to charges.
Robinson also pleaded guilty to felony theft in December and was sentenced to four months in jail, with a furlough for treatment. She will also serve five years on probation and pay restitution, yet to be determined.
In the past five years, Wilson has been convicted of second-degree drunken driving, fourth-degree damage to property and a handful of traffic violations, court records show. In March, he was convicted of threatening a West St. Paul police officer who had arrested him on suspicion of drunken driving, telling the officer that he could track the officer anywhere and that the officer should not mess with gangs.