As temperatures in Sartell, Minn., dipped to -9 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday, a woman shopping at the town’s Walmart auto-started her car so it would be warm once she got to the parking lot.
But when the woman walked out of the superstore, her Jeep Grand Cherokee was nowhere in sight, according to police. Surveillance video from the store showed a man climbing into the SUV and driving off with the vehicle around 8:30 p.m. that night, WJON reports.
That man was Edward Wilson, 37, according to police — and he didn’t make it far before he started running into car trouble. At 10:30 p.m., just hours later, the owner of the car got a phone call, the St. Cloud Times reports. It was a woman on the phone, and she told the car’s owner that a man was asking her questions about the Jeep.
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Then Wilson started talking to the owner directly over the phone, police said, using the name Wayne Hennen and telling the owner he was employed at an auto glass repair company. Wilson told her he’d fixed her car — and that he’d return it to her if she could re-start it for him, WJON reports.
At that point, Wilson gave the car’s rightful owner an address in Isle, Minn., so the owner could contact OnStar —a service that provides remote vehicle assistance — and fire up the Jeep again, WJON reports.
The owner didn’t give the address to OnStar, though. Instead, the address was given to police in Isle — an hour drive from Sartell — who showed up at the location to find Wilson in an apartment complex parking lot with the stolen car, KNSI reports.
Wilson initially told cops he wasn’t a thief at all, but rather a Safelite Auto Glass employee trying to return the vehicle, KNSI reports. But eventually, Wilson admitted to police that he had taken the vehicle, police said.
Wilson told police “he knew that it was not a good idea to get in the vehicle,” the Times reports.
Wilson has been charged with theft of a motor vehicle, KNSI reports, with bond set at $25,000.
He’s scheduled to appear in court on April 16, WJON reports.