By Mara H. Gottfried
St. Paul police were on the case of a “kid”-napping early Friday, May 5, after recovering a goat that was briefly stolen from Indian Mounds Regional Park.
The city of St. Paul released 30 goats on Tuesday to roam inside fenced-in areas along the park’s bluff edge. The goats eat invasive species and unwanted vegetation.
About 1 a.m. Friday, a GMC Yukon Denali sped through a stop sign at Earl Street and Mounds Boulevard and almost struck a squad car with officers patrolling in Mounds Park, according to police.
Officers tried to stop the vehicle, but the driver kept going, said Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman.
“While pursuing the vehicle, police were informed that the Yukon Denali matched the description of a vehicle that was in Mounds Park with people attempting to either kill or kidnap the goats,” Linders said. “I don’t believe (officers) knew there was a goat in the vehicle at that time.”
After about two miles, the Yukon’s driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into another vehicle parked in the driveway of a home in the 600 block of Birmingham Street, police said. Four people in the Yukon jumped out and tried to run away before the vehicle had fully stopped.
Police chased them and arrested two men, both 29, on suspicion of theft.
Officers found a goat in the Yukon’s cargo area. The goat, which had a tag on his ear identifying him as Gordy, was unharmed, though he had an orange extension cord wrapped around his neck, according to Linders.
“I assume they used the cord to capture the goat and lead it to their vehicle,” Linders said.
Police took the two suspects to the Ramsey County jail and the goat back to Mounds Park.
At the park, officers “discovered that the fence containing the goats had been broken, so the majority of Gordy’s pals had wandered out,”
Linders said. Officers, along with St. Paul Parks and Recreation workers, corralled them and repaired the fence.
The St. Paul city attorney’s office said the two men arrested — Thaying Cha and Eni Xiong, both St. Paul residents — were charged Friday with two misdemeanors, theft and fleeing on foot.
Clare Cloyd, St. Paul Parks and Recreation spokeswoman, said Gordy is doing well.
“He was pulled from the job site for evaluation as an extra safety precaution, but was fine and eating buckthorn at the time he was removed,” Cloyd said.
The goats were provided by Goat Dispatch, a Minnesota company that provides the animals for land management. After the goats were brought to the park Tuesday, staff from the company and Parks and Rec “regularly patrolled the park and monitored the herd,” Cloyd said.
“Following this incident, we will be increasing the number of patrols to ensure the continued safety of the goats and the public.”
– Forum News Service