A 30-year-old Maplewood man is awaiting charges in the Chisago County jail after a Saturday evening vehicle theft and police chase that entailed the suspect fleeing, hitching another ride, hiding on a hay bale and fighting officers who found him with the help of a K-9.

Sgt. Scott Berg said the suspect "put on a pretty good fight" upon arrest nearly two hours after the theft was reported around 5 p.m. at a gas station in Taylors Falls.

"I can't answer why he did what he did. I'm assuming it was a crime of opportunity," Berg said.

According to the Chisago County Sheriff's Office, a man was fueling his truck at a Casey's gas station when the suspect stole it. Officers found the vehicle and forced it off the road and into a ditch, at which point the suspect ran.

The Wyoming, North Branch and Lakes Area police departments responded along with the State Patrol and a police dog named Stryker.

Dispatch then got a call from a woman who said a man showed up at her door "out of breath and looking for a ride to Hazelden Treatment Center campus," according to the Sheriff's Office. She gave the man, later identified as the suspect, a ride to the campus, but he got out and ran into the woods as soon as she entered the parking lot. She told dispatch it seemed odd and called 911.

Officers established a perimeter at Hazelden and K-9 Stryker searched a nearby farmstead, where the suspect was hiding on top of a hay bale. Stryker detained the suspect but when deputies attempted to arrest him, he began fighting. The K-9 was released again and the man was arrested.

Berg said none of the officers was injured and the suspect's injuries weren't life-threatening.

Kim Hyatt