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Minnesota man arrested after two-hour manhunt in the New Richmond area

Trevor P. Bjorkman

Violent episodes over the course of three days in St. Croix County bars led to multiple charges against a Minnesota man with a lengthy criminal history.

Stillwater resident Trevor P. Bjorkman sucker-punched a man Friday, Dec. 16, at a Somerset establishment two days before brandishing knives and leading authorities on a two-hour, below-zero manhunt in rural New Richmond, according to charges filed last week in St. Croix County Circuit Court.

The 46-year-old was charged with one felony — substantial battery — and a host of misdemeanors, including obstructing an officer and disorderly conduct in connection to the incidents.

He pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Dec. 18 incident at the Boardman Bypass Bar but did not enter a plea in the felony case.

According to criminal complaints filed against Bjorkman:

St. Croix County sheriff’s deputies were called at 6:49 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, to the Boardman Bypass for a report of a man brandishing knives.

Deputies arrived at the bar to find the suspect gone and spoke with a woman, later identified as Tanya L. Schmit, with a hand injury.

She said she took the knives from the man and tossed them behind the bar. Deputies found a steak knife and a large chopping knife on the floor.

The owner of Meister’s Bar — across the street from the Boardman — identified the suspect as Bjorkman.

A bartender at the Boardman said Bjorkman approached her and asked for a knife. Asked why he needed that, “he said ‘Because I’m in a Packer bar and I’m a Viking fan … need to defend myself,” according to her statement.

She said Bjorkman then went to Meister’s and came back to the Boardman. Witnesses said Bjorkman, apparently enraged after learning his keys had been taken from him, ripped off his shirt, pulled the two knives from his waistband and “made threatening gestures to the entirety of the bar,” according to the complaint.

He fled the bar after police were called.

Deputies later determined Schmit was on probation and arrested her on suspicion of a violation.

The search began at 6:51 p.m. when deputies began tracking footprints in the snow. Officers tracked the prints on a snowmobile trail that went northwest toward 100th Street and County Road A.

The prints appeared to cut back and forth along a 100th Street ditch.

Officers tracked Bjorkman’s cellphone signal and deployed a K-9 unit in the search.

During the search, dispatch received a call from a woman on 95th Street who said a man matching Bjorkman’s description was pounding on her kitchen window. She refused to let him in and displayed a gun that prompted the man to bolt.

Officers then got a call that an elderly couple elsewhere on 95th Street had let a man inside. Deputies went there and found the couple standing in their garage. Bjorkman then came out and was arrested.

Officers and EMTs attempted to evaluate Bjorkman amid concerns of exposure during the incident, when temperatures were about 10 below zero. He refused medical attention.

That same night, deputies took a report from a man identified as Chad M. Taylor, who said he’d been assaulted two days earlier by Bjorkman.

Taylor told deputies he was on a date at Not Justa Bar & Cafe in the town of Somerset when he saw his ex-girlfriend, Schmit, enter the bar with Bjorkman.

Taylor said he got up to use the restroom. He said that while he was at the urinal, Bjorkman came up from behind him with another man and sucker-punched him in the head. Bjorkman continued to punch and kick him before leaving the establishment.

Taylor told officers said the assault left him with two broken teeth, a black eye and a split lip.

During the interview, deputies learned that Taylor had a warrant for his arrest.

Bjorkman made headlines in the late 1990s after he and a group of men accused of running drugs between St. Croix County and Arizona were arrested and indicted in federal court. Justice department records show Bjorkman was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after being convicted for possessing 163 kilograms of marijuana.

According to Minnesota district court records, Bjorkman’s criminal history there stretches back to 1988 and includes convictions for burglary and assault. His Wisconsin criminal history includes a 1999 conviction for misdemeanor battery. He has one open case in St. Croix County — a Nov. 9, 2016, incident, for which he is charged with misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct, theft and OWI. Bjorkman pleaded not guilty in that case.

He returns to court Jan. 17 for a preliminary hearing on the latest charges.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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