Voices told him to steal van in S. St. Paul with boxer show dog inside, charges say

13January 2022

A 34-year-old man told police that voices were telling him to steal a van with the engine running and a boxer show dog inside, according to charges.

Timothy J. Borrman of St. Paul was charged Wednesday in Dakota County District Court with felony auto theft and driving without a license after he allegedly drove off with the van before dawn Saturday from outside the enVision Hotel in South St. Paul.

Thanks to social media-inspired sleuthing by a Twin Cities couple, Michelle Cramblett Baker was able to go on Facebook two days later to declare a happy reunion with her “very cold and hungry” show dog. She and her 2½-year-old Jasper were in town from Illinois for the Land O’Lakes Kennel Club Dog Show in downtown St. Paul.

“I was 15 feet away and I watched as my whole world drove away,” Cramblett Baker wrote soon after she realized Jasper and the van were long gone. “Please please please return my dog to a safe place!!!!”

The day before Jasper’s disappearance, he won Best of Breed at the dog show.

According to the charges:

Police were dispatched to the hotel just off the Concord Street exit from Interstate 494, where Baker reported that she parked her van out front with the engine running and Jasper inside his kennel while she went back in for a cup of coffee.

When she came out, the van was gone — along with the dog, her purse, wallet and cellphone.

Hotel video surveillance showed Borrman getting behind the wheel and driving away. Borrman had been spotted in the hotel lobby earlier that morning.

Social media accounts of the crime, including surveillance images of Borrman, were widely shared.

Tara and James Wirtz recognized Borrman as someone they knew to be homeless and struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, and they started visiting places Monday where they knew he frequented. The couple found him in a drug house in St. Paul, but he claimed not to know the dog was in the van.

Borrman directed the Wirtzes to the van’s location in St. Paul, where the couple broke A window “and took custody of Jasper, who was later returned to [Baker],” the charges read.

Law enforcement found Borrman on Monday in St. Paul and arrested him.

Borrman said he was visiting a friend at the hotel and “heard voices that told him to take the van,” the complaint read. He said he was under the influence of meth at the time.

He said he drove the vehicle to numerous friends’ homes before leaving it outside a cousin’s residence in St. Paul. Borrman added that he gave his cousin the keys.

Court records show that Borrman has a long criminal history in Minnesota that includes three convictions for drunken driving, four for driving without a license and one each for domestic assault, property damage and violating a domestic-abuse no-contact order.

Borrman appeared in court Thursday and remains jailed in lieu of $10,000 bail. His attorney, Jennifer Congdon, declined to comment on the allegations against her client.

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