Lakeville police car allegedly stolen, used in attempted robbery before found sunk in river

Farmington man charged with felony theft

A Farmington man has been charged with felony theft for allegedly stealing a new, unused Lakeville-owned vehicle that was later recovered from a river in Eagan.

Michael Marshall Simmons, 27, used the unmarked police vehicle in an attempted robbery of a Bloomington drug store where he tried to get “oxy” from a pharmacy employee, according to the Feb. 28 Dakota County criminal complaint.

Simmons allegedly told police he was going through drug withdrawal and having problems with his girlfriend on May 13, 2012, so he decided to take a walk.

He allegedly went past the Lakeville Public Works building at Cedar Avenue and 179th Street, where he spotted the brand-new Chevy Malibu with keys in the ignition.

The complaint said he jumped the fence, determined the car was unlocked and went home to get a bolt cutter.

Police said he returned to the location, cut a large hole in the chain-link fence and drove the car out.

Lakeville City Administrator Steve Mielke said the car was purchased new for police detectives’ use and had not yet been put into service.

He said it was being stored overnight for final service and was not reported missing until the morning when employees arrived to work.

The criminal complaint said Simmons told police after the robbery attempt in Bloomington, he drove the car to a boat landing in Eagan and put it in the river.

Mielke said the city’s insurance covered the loss and it has since been replaced.

“It’s pretty brazen for someone to cut a hole in a chain-link fence and drive it off,” he said.

Mielke added that the public works staff has been instructed to make sure not to leave city vehicles unlocked with the keys in the ignition.

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