A shoplifting suspect is in custody after stabbing a Crow Wing County Sheriff's K-9 patrol dog while fleeing from police Monday in Baxter.
The suspect, a 37-year-old Brainerd man, is also a suspect in a April 21 shoplifting incident at Mills Fleet Farm in Baxter in which he attempted to assault a loss prevention specialist with a knife, Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted said.
About 2:10 p.m. Monday officers were called to Kohl's Department Store on Excelsior Road in Baxter for a report of a man who had taken items and was running from the store.
Exsted said Kohl's loss prevention specialists chased the suspect across Highway 371 and into a wooded area near Northern National Bank. Baxter officers set up a perimeter around the wooded area and, with the assistance of Crow Wing County Sheriff's Deputy Pat Pickar and his K-9 patrol dog, Nike, began looking for the suspect.
A short distance into the woods Pickar and Nike came upon the suspect. While Nike had the suspect by the arm the suspect cut the K-9 dog below his right eye, Pickar said. The suspect then dropped the knife and was apprehended by the officers.
Nike was taken to Animal Care Center in Baxter, where he was given stitches. Pickar said Nike will be back in service Tuesday.
"He's doing good," Pickar said. "He just got slashed across the right eye. It missed the retina and went under the eye."
Pickar said Nike normally wouldn't be deployed to apprehend a shoplifting suspect, but officers knew before their pursuit into the woods that the man was believed to be the suspect who used a knife at Mills Fleet Farm.
The loss prevention specialists at Kohl's didn't see a knife in the store, Exsted said. He also said items believed to have been taken from the department store were found on the suspect when he was arrested.
Exsted said formal charges are pending from the Crow Wing County attorney's office for both the April 21 incident and Monday's incident. He said Monday's assault of a K-9 patrol dog could result in felony charges.
The suspect is being held in the Crow Wing County Jail.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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