THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO CONVEY THAT PAYNES' RELEASE WAS NOT PERMITTED BY A JUDGE, BUT RATHER BY A BOND COMMISSIONER.
The Fourth of July theatrics in St. Louis this weekend weren't limited to concerts and light shows. In case you missed it, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, in dramatic fashion, apprehended two of the men suspected of twenty car break-ins that occurred near Union Station on June 29 -- part of a rash of car cloutings that has plagued the downtown neighborhood in recent weeks.
On Saturday, police spotted the suspects' getaway car near the corner of South Broadway and Bates St., in Carondelet. Rather than give chase, officers used spike strips to flatten the car's tires.
At that point, three people jumped out of the car and fled on foot.
Cops caught up to two of the men, both of whom resisted arrest. One of the men, 25-year-old Calvin Willis, attempted to grab hold of an officer's gun and was eventually contained; the other suspect, 23-year-old Michael Paynes, was hit by cops with a taser beam.
The police seized the vehicle -- which had been stolen two weeks ago -- and reported stolen property inside. That property, which had been lifted from the vehicles parked near Union Station, included, among other things, identification cards and social security cards.
A warrant was issued for Willis, of the 5400 block of Claxton, for second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting Arrest. Bond was set at $75,000. A second warrant was issued to Paynes, of the 4500 block of McMillan, for second-degree tampering with a motor vehicle and resisting arrest. A bond commissioner set a recognizance bond, meaning he can be released by signing documents promising to appear in court.
Both suspects have prior felony convictions, and Paynes is currently on parole for tampering with a motor vehicle and assault on a law enforcement officer, among other offenses.
Charges for the Union Station car break-ins have not yet been processed. The city has recently been battling a spate of car break-ins downtown. Earlier reports suggested that two separate groups of people have contributed to the vandalism. Mayor Francis Slay has been pushing for lot owners to employ more parking attendants.
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