Pursued by deputies, Minn. woman finds a 'safe' place to hide

“In this career, just when you thought you’ve seen and heard everything, something even weirder pops up”


John Reinan
Star Tribune

CHISAGO COUNTY, Minn. — Pursued by sheriff’s deputies, a Chisago County woman literally found a safe place to hide — she shut herself inside a gun safe.

“In this career, just when you thought you’ve seen and heard everything, something even weirder pops up,” said Scotty Finnegan, a deputy with the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office.

Finnegan got a call last Wednesday about a trespasser at Sunrise Estates, a mobile home park in Stacy, Minn. Information indicated that the suspect was 26-year-old Jessie Knickerbocker of North Branch, and that she was at her father’s home in the park.

But there was a no-trespassing order filed against Knickerbocker, barring her from the property, court records show.

Finnegan and his partner knocked on the door and asked if Knickerbocker was in the home. According to Finnegan, her father said she wasn’t there and allowed officers inside to search the trailer, a small unit with two bedrooms and a living room. They saw no sign of her.

“I asked him where she was and he said in a safe,” Finnegan said. “I thought he meant she was in a safe place.”

The father brought the officers into the kitchen, where they saw a fire-rated gun safe, measuring about 5 feet tall, 28 inches wide and 20 inches deep.

“The door was closed, the combination [lock] was solid and the handle wouldn’t move,” Finnegan said. “We were shouting at her to come out and [her father] couldn’t get the safe open — it was malfunctioning.”

After about 10 minutes, the deputies finally got the safe open, “and here is this female suspect in there, crouched down, sweating profusely,” Finnegan said.

“The fire-rated safes are not designed to have a lot of air circulating,” he added. “It’s basically a steel coffin.”

Inside the safe, deputies found a box of sharp kitchen knives. They believe Knickerbocker wedged the knives in the door frame to prevent it from opening.

Knickerbocker was arrested and charged with trespassing. She pleaded guilty after two days in jail and was sentenced to two days in jail with credit for the time already served.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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