Public Safety

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Photos: Stillwater Fire Station Grand Opening and Dedication Ceremony

The Stillwater Fire Department held a public Grand Opening and Dedication Ceremony for the new Fire Station on Maryknoll Drive last weekend. Firefighters followed the grand opening up with the annual Open House. Fire Chief Stu Glaser opened the ceremony by recognizing and thanking the Stillwater Fire Department’s retirees. The Chief spoke to the deep history of the Fire Department, and how the new fire station will help firefighters serve the needs of the entire community. The new $7.3 million fire station is about 25,000 square feet and features a hose tower that doubles as a training apparatus, six drive-through bays for fire trucks, an entry to feature historic items, a conference room and office space, and a bay that can be used as a smoke room for training, as well as a space to store boats and other firefighting equipment. Continue Reading →

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Charges: Stillwater Teen Became Man’s Online Sex Slave

Criminal charges filed this week against a 19-year-old man from Washington state are incredibly disturbing. Cheyenne Cody Vedaa Foster is accused of keeping a seventh-grader at Stillwater Junior High as a sex slave and controlling her to the point that she physically harmed herself — even though the two never met in person. According to charges filed this week in Washington County District Court, Foster called himself “Hero,” and referred to the girl as “Kitten,” his online sex servant. Detectives are still trying to determine how Foster met the girl, but according to the complaint, the two have been communicating since at least March via text message, social media and daily video chats. According to the complaint:

Police began looking into a report of inappropriate communication between Foster and the 13-year-old girl last spring. Continue Reading →

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The Great Undie Heist: Socks and Underwear Stolen from Valley Outreach

Valley Outreach is reporting that multiple pairs of socks and underwear have gone missing from a clotheslines in front their building on Curve Crest Boulevard. The heist, according Valley Outreach Executive Director Tracy Maki, begs the question: Is it kids playing pranks or are people taking them because they need them? “We put up the clothesline and hung old socks and underwear along it to bring awareness to our Undie Week sock and underwear drive,” Maki said. “We thought it would be a quirky thing to draw attention, which it has. While we’ve been taking in donations of new underwear, we’ve also had sock-grabbers busy under cover of darkness. Continue Reading →

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Video: Minnesota Aviation Team Rescues Stillwater Hiker Stranded on North Shore Trail

A 62-year-old Stillwater woman was rescued Monday afternoon after she dislocated her hip while hiking at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Lori Mildon was hiking on the North Shore when she sat down to rest during her hike, Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Schweigart said during a press conference. When Mildon tried to stand up, she collapsed with a dislocated hip and was unable to walk. The Lake County Rescue Squad responded at about 1:52 p.m. to a rescue call for a hiker who was stranded on a trail. First responders determined that portion of the trail was best reached by air, so the Minnesota Aviation Rescue Team –a partnership between the St. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Fire Department’s Open House, Fire Station Grand Opening is Saturday

The Stillwater Fire Department’s annual open house is Saturday, Oct. 10 at the new Fire Station on Maryknoll Drive. Firefighters will visit schools as part of Fire Prevention Week to teach children about fire safety. The annual open house will also serve as the public grand opening for the new fire station. The Station Dedication and Grand Opening ceremony will be from 9-10 a.m., with the open house from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Due to ongoing construction of the Stillwater Armory, on-site parking will be limited. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Man Pleads Guilty to Kidnapping, Sexual Assault Charges

A 26-year-old Stillwater man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Washington County District Court to kidnapping and sexually assaulting an intoxicated St. Paul teen. Jeremiah Daniel Johnson, 26, of Stillwater, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and third-degree criminal sexual conduct of an 18-year-old St. Paul woman. According to the criminal complaint:

Johnson found an 18-year-old woman, intoxicated, passed out and incapacitated, next to a telephone pole on July 5 at the intersection of Edgerton and Case on the East Side of St. Continue Reading →

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70-Year-Old Woman Found Dead in Swimming Pool in the City of Grant

A 70-year-old woman was found dead in a swimming pool Thursday evening in the city of Grant. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a report at 5:35 p.m. of a woman that was found in a pool, according to a Washington County Sheriff’s Office news release. Washington County deputies along with Lakeview Ambulance and Stillwater Fire Department responded and attempted to revive the woman without success. The incident is under investigation by the sheriff’s office and the Ramsey County Medical Examiners Office. No further information was made available. Continue Reading →

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State Patrol Identifies Motorcyclist Involved in Fatal Crash at St. Croix River Crossing Construction Zone

The Minnesota State Patrol has identified the motorcyclist who died Sunday night after crashing into a hydraulic lift in the construction zone for the St. Croix River Crossing at Highway 95 and Highway 36. Edward M. Werbachowski, 39 , of Brooklyn Park, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. Two motorcyclists were riding together on southbound Highway 95 before driving into the St. Croix River Crossing construction zone where the crashes occurred Sunday evening, Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said. Continue Reading →

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Southbound Highway 95 Re-opens Following Fatal Motorcyle Crash

Southbound Highway 95 was shut down for a couple of hours Sunday night after a fatal motorcycle crash at the St. Croix River Crossing construction site at Highway 36. Two motorcyclists were riding together on southbound Highway 95 before driving into the St. Croix River Crossing construction zone where the crashes occurred Sunday evening, Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson said. One motorcyclist was pronounced dead on the scene, Nielson said. The other motorcyclist, Christopher L. Ree, 39, of Blaine, was seriously injured. Continue Reading →

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Washington County Sheriff’s Office Releases New Mobile App

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office recently released a new mobile app as another way to try to engage the community. The sheriff’s office has been working for two years with Cloudspace Mobile to develop the app, Washington County Sheriff’s Commander Brian R. Mueller said. “This application is the first stand-alone mobile application of it’s kind in the area specifically related to a law enforcement agency,” Mueller said. “We hope for this to be another useful tool to add to our broader community-engagement effort.” App users can submit crime tips, view the Washington County Sheriff’s Office’s Most Wanted list, look up cold cases, access the sheriff’s office’s social media accounts and commend an officer. Continue Reading →

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Pine Springs Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison in Shooting Death of David Frigaard

Bailey Jordan Garcia was sentenced Friday morning to serve 27 years in prison for the second-degree drive by murder of David Robert Frigaard in Mahtomedi. Garcia, 19, of Pine Springs, was charged in January with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Frigaard, a Park Cottage Grove High School art teacher and bar owner. The charge carried a Minnesota Guidelines sentence of 261-367 month sentence. “This was such a senseless crime that it truly boggles the imagination,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said in a prepared statement. “The only saving grace is that this case came to a swift resolution so as to give the victim’s family as much closure as the system can provide.”

According to the complaint filed in the case, Garcia, parked near the intersection of Stillwater Road and Mahtomedi Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. saw Frigaard’s truck come up to a stop sign, and he shot at the truck with a 30.06 rifle from his own vehicle before fleeing the area. Continue Reading →

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Police Investigate String of Vandalism in Stillwater’s South Hill Neighborhood

Police are looking for vandals who have damaged several vehicles, a boat, trailer and a home this week in Stillwater’s South Hill neighborhood. Police believe the vandalism occurred during the late-night hours of Aug. 11, into the early-morning hours of Aug. 12. Here’s a listing of criminal damage to property incidents reported to police so far:

1000 block of 5th Avenue S.: Spray painted new vehicle

300 block of Churchill St. Continue Reading →

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Washington County Warns Residents of Scammer Posing as Sheriff Deputy

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a scam. The sheriff’s office has received reports of a man posing as a deputy from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office who has been calling local residents, requesting them to call the IRS because they owe money. The scammer warns of a warrant arrest if the money is not paid, Washington County Commander Cheri Dexter said. The fake deputy has is using a phone spoofing number that comes up as a Sheriff’s Office Records phone number, but ask you to call back to an out of state phone number. “The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, local police departments and the courts will never call residents and demand that they pay outstanding fines or tickets by phone, especially with pre-paid credit cards,” Dexter said. Continue Reading →

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Night to Unite Parties Set for Tuesday in Stillwater Area

The Stillwater Police Department will be celebrating their annual “Night to Unite” event from 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 in Washington Square Park. Night to Unite is an event to heighten crime prevention awareness, generate support and participation in local anti-crime efforts, as well as strengthen and develop police community partnerships. Highlights of Stillwater’s Night to Unite event include tours of police equipment, fire trucks, a K-9 demonstration and a chance to meet Stillwater’s fire fighters, police officers, paramedics, City Council Members and members of the U.S. National Guard. There will be treats, games, and prizes. Continue Reading →

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Dave Eckberg Sentenced to 5 Years’ Probation for Felony Tax Evasion

Dave Eckberg was sentenced to serve five years of probation after pleading guilty to felony tax evasion charges relating to his work as promoter of Lumberjack Days. Eckberg, 64, entered guilty pleas on May 7 to two felony counts of failing to pay sales and alcohol taxes and one count of failing to pay out-of-state entertainment taxes. Washington County District Judge Susan R. Miles last week sentenced Eckberg to serve five years of probation. If probation is violated, a 15-month prison sentence hangs over Eckberg’s head. Judge Miles also ordered Eckberg to cooperate with the transfer of the ownership of the name “Lumberjack Days” to the city of Stillwater for its future use and ownership by the city. Continue Reading →

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Police Seek Information on Vandalism at Bayport BBQ

Bayport Police are looking for information related to vandalism at the Bayport BBQ. Someone spray painted all over the front of the restaurant, and screwed the front door to the door frame and broke off the screw heads. If you saw any suspicious vehicles or persons in the area of the 5th Ave North on Tuesday/Wednesday in the early morning hours of July 29, call the Bayport Police at 651-275-4400 or 651-439-9381.//

not how I planned on starting my day. lots of troubled people out there. contrary to the spray paint, we are actually… Continue Reading →

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Felony Charges Filed After Pedestrian Hit by Suspected Drunken Driver in Downtown Stillwater

A 26-year-old man was charged with felony criminal operation of a vehicle after hitting a pedestrian on Water Street in downtown Stillwater last weekend. At about 2:20 a.m. July 19,  Stillwater police were patrolling bar close on foot when heard a revving engine and saw a vehicle swerving and speeding onto Water Street from Chestnut just before it hit a pedestrian. Officers started running to their squad cars to stop the truck, when the officers heard a loud crash near the 300 block of Water Street South — and saw the truck hit a man who was standing with a group of people on the road near the Freight House. According to police, the impact violently threw the pedestrian, Ryan Jacoby, 23, of Somerset, Wis., into the air, causing him to spin several times before landing face down on the ground. Jacoby  was taken to Regions Hospital where he was treated for a broken nose, concussion and lacerations on his head and face. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Police Search for Suspect After Alleged Drug Deal is Interrupted

If you’ve noticed a police presence — including helicopters and K-9 officers — on Greeley Street, local law enforcement is searching for a person who fled after an alleged drug deal was interrupted. Police “interrupted a drug deal while looking for a juvenile runaway,” Stillwater Police Sgt. Jeff Stender said. “One party fled and we are looking for him.” According to police, there is no danger to the public. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Man Charged with Kidnapping and Criminal Sexual Conduct

A 26-year-old Stillwater man was charged today in Washington County District Court with kidnapping and two counts of criminal sexual conduct. Jeremiah Daniel Johnson, 26, of Stillwater, faces felony charges of kidnapping and 3rd and 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct that allegedly occurred on Sunday, July 5. According to the criminal complaint:

Johnson found an 18-year-old woman, intoxicated, passed out and incapacitated, next to a telephone pole at the intersection of Edgerton and Case in St. Paul. Witnesses told police that Johnson saw the woman passed out on the sidewalk, got out of his truck, picked her up, with her arms dangling “limp and lifeless” and carried her to his truck and drove off with her inside, according to the complaint. Continue Reading →

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Lightning Strike Sparks a House Fire on Second Street North

A lightning strike sparked a house fire Monday evening in the 1200 block of Second Street North in Stillwater. No injuries were reported. Stillwater firefighters were called to the scene at about 6:45 p.m. on June 29. When firefighters arrived, there was a working attic fire. “Crews pulled an attack line for interior fire suppression and search and rescue,” according to a post on the Stillwater Fire Department’s Facebook page. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Prison Escapee Captured

Police have captured the inmate who escaped from the minimum security unit last week at Stillwater Prison. Patrick James Buswell is in custody at the Chippewa County Jail in Wisconsin, according to authorities. He was found at a rural residence in the Holcombe area, after investigators conducted interviews with his known associates. Buswell was arrested by the Department of Corrections Fugitive Apprehension Unit, the U.S. Marshals and the Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation at 2:40 a.m. Wednesday. He is expected to face new criminal charges for his escape in Minnesota, plus possible narcotics charges in Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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Motorcyclist Killed In Crash Near Boom Site Just North of Downtown Stillwater

A 54-year-old North Branch man is dead after he crashed his motorcycle near the Boom Site just north of downtown Stillwater Tuesday evening. The crash happened at about 6:34 p.m. on Highway 95 near Pawnee Avenue North, according to the Minnesota State Patrol. The state patrol says Guy Donnelly, who was on a 2000 Harley Davidson, was traveling northbound Highway 95 when he veered off the road near the Boom Site and traveled about 250 feet in a ditch before crashing. Donnelly was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Police Continue Searching for Inmate Who Escaped from Stillwater Prison

Police are searching for an inmate who escaped from the minimum security unit at Stillwater Prison Friday morning. Local law enforcement have set up a perimeter and are searching for the man. According to Bayport Police:

“Approximately 30 minutes ago (10:30 a.m.), DOC offender Patrick James Buswell walked away from the minimum security portion of the Stillwater Prison. Buswell is described at 5′ 6″, white male, brown hair/eyes and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans. If you located someone who matches this description, please do NOT approach and call 911 immediately.” Continue Reading →

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Oak Park Heights Offers Parent-Teen Drivers Ed Class on June 18

Attention parents of soon-to-be teen drivers:

Do you know the real risks for teen drivers? Do you know the restrictions on new teen drivers? Can you cancel your teen’s license? Learn the answers to these questions and more in the teen driver safety parent awareness class from 7:00 – 8:30 pm on June 18th, at Oak Park Heights City Hall. Presenters will include a driver education instructor and Officers. Continue Reading →

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Updated: Death at Fairy Falls 

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement about Monday’s incident at Fairy Falls:

On 6/8/2015 at 1309 hrs., Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Stillwater Police and Stillwater Fire responded to Fairy Falls in Stillwater Township on an unknown situation. When rescuers arrived on scene an adult male, 33 YOA from the Bayport area was located deceased. This male was NOT rock climbing and did not accidently fall from the bluff. At this time the Ramsey County Medical Examiner will be determining the cause of death, however it does appear to be self induced. We are giving the family time to notify relatives prior to the name being released. 

Updated from:

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a death at Fairy Falls, just north of Stillwater. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Firefighters Extinguish Home Fire on Elm Street

Stillwater firefighters extinguished a house fire in the 200 block of West Elm Street on Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to a report of a structure fire at 11:15 a.m., according to Stillwater Fire Chief Stu Glaser. Upon arrival, firefighters reported a “working structure fire with smoke and flames showing from the second floor.” Firefighters entered the second floor of the home to fight the fire, Glaser said. Additional Stillwater crews responded and provided, search and rescue, water supply, ventilation and overhaul. Mutual aid was provided by Bayport, Mahtomedi and the Lake Elmo fire departments. Continue Reading →

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Update: Body Found in St. Croix River Identified as Abbey Russell

The body found in the St. Croix River on May 2 has been identified as Abbey Kae Russell. Russell, 24, was reported missing on April 25. Family, friends, volunteers and the local authorities conducting ground, aerial and water searches in Stillwater and on the St. Croix River every day until Russell was found. Foul play is not suspected in the death of Russell, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Continue Reading →

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Family Asks for Help in Nationwide Search for Abbey Russell: #GeoAbbeyRussell

Abbey Russell’s family is asking the public for help in a nationwide search for the missing 24-year-old. Russell disappeared from her Stillwater residence in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 25, leaving everything including her dog, phone, purse and car behind. 

Family, friends, volunteers and the local authorities have been conducting ground, aerial and water searches in Stillwater and on the St. Croix River every day since Russell went missing that time, looking for clues of her whereabouts. Stillwater Boat Owners Asked to Search for Signs of Abbey Russell

Sonar Searches of St. Croix River Turn Up No Sign of Missing Stillwater Woman

Update: Police Continue Searching for Missing Stillwater Woman

“As we close in on a full week without Abbey, we are begging people everywhere to help find her,” Abbey’s sister, Ashley Marg said. Continue Reading →

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Stillwater Boat Owners Asked to Search for Signs of Abbey Russell

Stillwater police are asking people who have boats docked on the St. Croix River to search their boats for signs of Abbey Russell. The 24-year-old Stillwater woman disappeared early Saturday morning. She was last seen at her residence — in the area of Highway 95 and Poplar Street. Land, aerial and sonar searches on the river have turned up no sign of Russell. Continue Reading →

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Update: Police Continue Searching for Missing Stillwater Woman

Stillwater police continued their search for a missing 24-year-old woman on Sunday. Abbey Russell, 24, was last seen at her residence — in the area of Highway 95 and Poplar Street — at about 12 a.m. on April 25. If anyone has any information, contact the Stillwater Police Department at 651-351-4900. Extensive ground and aerial searches have been conducted since her disappearance was reported. On Sunday, dive crews searched the St. Croix River near the Old Saw Mill Marina, just north of downtown, Sgt. Continue Reading →

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