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Suspect in motor vehicle thefts is nabbed in Meeker County

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OLIVIA -- A suspect in a series of vehicle thefts was taken into custody today after several days on the run.

Matthew James Wrobleski, 37, of Willmar is being held in the Meeker County Jail and faces multiple charges, according to Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin.

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He had been the focus of an intensive search last week by law enforcement officials from several counties.

Authorities began to close in on him early today when the Meeker County Sheriff's Office received a call at 12:25 a.m. that a pickup truck had been stolen from a home in rural Kingston and was believed to be traveling south on 722nd Avenue.

A sheriff's deputy spotted the vehicle five minutes later, headed south on Highway 15 south of Kingston. The deputy attempted to stop the truck but was unsuccessful. The suspect then drove into a yard along Highway 15, drove behind the residence and into a swampy area, and left the truck and continued on foot into the swamp, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

With the help of additional Meeker County sheriff's deputies, deputies from the Wright County Sheriff's Office, Minnesota state troopers and a Wright County K-9 handler, the suspect, later identified as Wrobleski, was found hiding in the swamp about 50 yards northeast of where he had left the stolen truck.

Norlin said Wrobleski sustained some minor injuries from the dog and was taken by Goldcross Ambulance to Hutchinson Area Healthcare for treatment. He then was transported to the Meeker County Jail in Litchfield, where he is being held on charges of motor vehicle theft, fleeing in a motor vehicle, fleeing on foot and obstructing legal process by force.

There were warrants out for his arrest as well in Renville and Redwood counties on felony motor vehicle theft, gross misdemeanor domestic assault and a probation violation.

Wrobleski also is a suspect and has been the main focus of a multi-county investigation in more than two dozen motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and other incidents in recent weeks in Meeker, Renville, McLeod and Kandiyohi counties.

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