23 Year Old Pleads Guilty to Six Crimes—(Duluth News Tribune—(Duluth News Tribune)

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Duluth News Tribune

Mark Stodghill,
Published Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Duluth man who taunted police officers during a February crime spree in which he stole a car and fled from law enforcement was reserved and soft-spoken Wednesday as he pleaded guilty to six crimes in connection with the incident.

Antonio Thomas Robledo, 23, pleaded guilty in St. Louis County District Court to third-degree burglary, tampering with a motor vehicle, two counts of assault of a peace officer, fifth-degree assault of a jailer and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

The defendant faces a guideline sentence of 27-30 months in prison. Senior Judge John T. Oswald ordered an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer to conduct an investigation of Robledo’s background before sentencing on June 5.

Under questioning by St. Louis County prosecutor Heather Korpela, Robledo admitted that he stole a black Audi from the garage of Duluth attorney William Paul about 1 a.m. on Feb. 28. Robledo told the court that he doesn’t know Paul, despite the fact that he had stolen the same vehicle in October 2007. “I knew he had a nice car in there and I wanted to steal a car,’’ he said.

According to the criminal complaint, police spotted the vehicle on Lake Avenue about 2:10 a.m. on Feb. 28. An officer pulled alongside Robledo, drew his gun and got out of his squad car. Robledo said, “You’re not going to shoot. I know you’re not going to shoot me.’’ He drove off, crashing into a guardrail.

The defendant then called 911 and commented that he was homicidal, not suicidal. He said he couldn’t be caught because he was smarter than police. He claimed he had a .45-caliber gun and was going to use it. He crashed the vehicle in a snowbank and fled to the woods.

During a conversation with a 911 dispatcher, Robledo said he was taking antidepressants, admitted to stealing the car, stealing gas and fleeing police.

Minnesota State Patrol troopers found the stolen vehicle at 36th Avenue East and Old Howard Mill Road. A K-9 unit tracked Robledo to a storage shed behind a residence on Ridgewood Road.

The defendant admitted to kicking two of the arresting officers as he was dragged out of the shed. He said he kicked the officers after being asked if he “wanted to feel what cement felt like.’’ He also admitted kicking a St. Louis County jailer when being led into jail.

Robledo’s only question for the court was if he could get his personal belongings back from Duluth police. He said he wanted his MP3 player back. He said it was his personal property and not stolen. Oswald told him he could petition to get it back after he’s sentenced.

The defendant had been released from prison just 18 days before the February spree. He had been sentenced to 24 months in prison for theft and 24 months in prison for the burglary of several eastern Duluth houses in 2007.