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Police pursuit results in recovery of stolen vehicle

Felony charges recently resulted after a Jan. 18 police chase.

Baxter Police officers were called to Walmart about 8:15 p.m. Jan. 18 for two uncooperative shoplifters.

Baxter Sgt. Vic Sofie was nearby and was able to observe the suspects getting into a black Tahoe, which drove erratically and at a high speed in the parking lot. Sofie pulled the vehicle over south of Glory Road and as he approached the suspects, they took off. A pursuit involving at least 10 officers ensued.

The vehicle matched a description of a stolen car from Mille Lacs County. The pursuit ended at an Onamia address as the suspects stopped at the end of a driveway. Both a man and a woman were apprehended.

Baxter Chief Jim Exsted said no one was injured in the pursuit and the suspects were taken into custody without any damage to any of the vehicles.

The suspect vehicle was confirmed as the stolen car. Its owners were able to recover the vehicle at the scene.

Exsted said the suspects were involved in three other thefts from Walmart in the past month, which were in various stages of being charged.

Leslie James Gahbow, 29, was charged with a felony for theft of a motor vehicle and fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, along with misdemeanors for driving after revocation.

Exsted said it was good to be able to return a stolen vehicle to the owners with nothing more than additional miles on the vehicle.

“It ended well,” Exsted said.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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