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Tips track burglar's path through Solon Springs

Superior Telegram

A three-hour manhunt for an accused burglar in Bennett ended with an arrest June 22 in Solon Springs, thanks to citizen input.

The incident involved a car chase, a trek through a swampy area on foot, a stolen bicycle and a covered boat. It ended with the arrest of Ryan Frederick Little, 42, of Solon Springs. He faces felony charges of repeater burglary, repeater drive or operate a vehicle without owner's consent, attempting to flee or elude an officer, and repeater second-degree recklessly endangering safety.

Little made an initial appearance Monday in Douglas County Circuit Court.

According to the criminal complaint:

Deputy Andrea Dittbrender responded to a residential burglary alarm on Old 11 Road in the town of Bennett at 11:29 a.m. June 22. A keyholder reported the garage door was open and a red pickup with dual wheels had been parked on the property.

Dittbrender saw the suspect vehicle traveling on U.S. Highway 53 and attempted to stop it. She followed the speeding truck, but stopped direct pursuit to protect the public when it began traveling southbound on Mertzig Parkway in Solon Springs.

A motorist then reported a red pickup had crashed at the intersection of Highway A and West Third Street in Solon Springs. Witnesses told deputies they saw a man jump out of the truck while it was still moving and run into the woods.

Wisconsin State Patrol officers and sheriff's deputies blocked traffic to the scene, and Deputy Brian Witt attempted to track the driver with his K9 Talon. They tracked him into a swamp so deep the deputy and dog had to back out.

The sheriff's office then received a call from a daycare located across the swampy area from where the truck crashed. A woman told deputies that she saw a sweaty, frantic man attempt to jump a fence in her backyard. She confronted him and he took a bicycle from the property and left.

Deputies then followed bicycle tracks heading east from the daycare. They were met by a man on an ATV who said there was someone hiding in his boat on Hillside Street, due east from where the bike was stolen. Officers located Little, barefoot and smelling of intoxicants, under the cover on the boat. A pair of wet shoes were found in the boat. The tread on the shoes matched shoe patterns from the site of the original burglary alarm.

The missing daycare bicycle was found laying on its side next to a nearby shed.

The pickup truck that crashed during the chase was reported stolen from a Superior bar June 22. The owner said the key was in the truck and it was taken without his permission.

A $10,000 cash bond was set for the Solon Springs man, and he was ordered to have no contact with any of the victims. His next court appearance is set for July 3.