Manhunt In Pine County, Two Men Arrested
Between Wednesday June 8th and Thursday June 9th, the Willow River area of Pine County was the target of a rash of property crimes including burglaries, larcenies and auto thefts, which were being investigated by the Pine County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon.
At that time Pine County Deputies were dispatched to stolen vehicles reported in the Willow River area. One vehicle was found in the ditch on County Road 43 and the other vehicle was found parked in Willow River.
In a press release provided by the Pine County Sheriff’s office, we learned that a Deputy investigating the stolen vehicle on County Road 43, was made aware that neighbors were chasing three males from the rear of a nearby address. The neighbors captured one of the three, as the other two fled into a 60 acre swamp carrying a black bag. Deputies took custody of the captured male and quickly set up a perimeter around the swamp.
The captured male told Deputies that the two males that had fled into the swap were an Olaf Thomas and a Sean Flaherty. Deputies quickly radioed this information to the Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Cole requested that a State Patrol helicopter be dispatched from St. Paul, and then requested mutual aid from all area law enforcement agencies. Within 30 minutes, over 15 officers surrounded the swamp where Thomas and Flaherty were hiding.
Sheriff Cole arrived on scene and directed the effort to flush Thomas and Flaherty out of the swamp. As the State Patrol helicopter searched from above, Pine County Deputies began a canine ground search with the assistance of several other agencies. After a three hour search, Thomas and Flaherty were driven into an open area which was being watched by an officer perched in a deer stand. The two were quickly surrounded and arrested without incident.
During the search, a home burglary was reported at the house that the three were originally chased from and deputies located the black bag in the area were Thomas and Flaherty entered the swamp. Inside the bag were the proceeds of the home burglary.
Olaf Wilbert Thomas, III and Sean Patrick Flaherty appeared before the Honorable Judge James Reuter on June 13th and were each charged with one count of Burglary in the Second Degree.
Olaf Wilbert Thomas, III is being held at the Pine County Jail with $1,000,000.00 dollars bail without conditions and $500,000 bail with conditions. He is being held without bail on his other pending cases.
Sean Patrick Flaherty is being held at the Pine County Jail with $10,000.00 bail without conditions and $5,000 bail with conditions.