HOLDINGFORD -- A Holdingford man was arrested Thursday morning after a crime spree involving stolen vehicles, a burglary, and an assault.

The Stearns County Dispatch Center got a call just before 7:00 a.m. from someone who said they confronted a man stealing tools from his garage. The victim reported the thief said he had a knife and punched the victim in the face several times before fleeing the scene in a white pickup.

A responding deputy spotted the truck heading east on County Road 17 toward Holdingford and tried to make a traffic stop. The driver, later identified as 35-year-old Christopher Kleve, initially complied but then fled again, even forcing another driver off the road.

Another deputy stationed in Holdingford spotted Kleve pull up to an apartment on Main Street, get out of the truck and enter the building. Authorities set up a perimeter while they waited for a search warrant.

Negotiators tried to make contact with Kleve but were unsuccessful. The SWAT team was called in to make a forced entry into Kleve's apartment. He was taken into custody shortly after 11:00 a.m.

Authorities learned the pickup Kleve was driving was stolen from a home in Millwood Township. Another 911 call reported a snowmobile theft near where the pickup was taken. A separate truck had been left at that scene. That truck had earlier been stolen from a home in Sauk Centre.

Authorities later learned Kleve also committed a gas drive-off in Albany the night before.

Kleve's vehicle was ultimately found on County Road 186 just southeast of Sauk Centre.

Kleve was booked into the Stearns County Jail on suspicion of 2nd-degree burglary, fleeing police, and criminal damage to property. Additional charges are also expected.

A handful of other law enforcement agencies assisted in the apprehension, including the Melrose Police Department, Sauk Centre Police Department, Morrison County Sheriff's Office, and Minnesota DNR.

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