FAIRMONT - A 23-year-old Fairmont man, William Frances Bishop-Martinez, faces charges of felony theft, stolen motor vehicle and escaping from custody.
According to information from the Fairmont Police Department:
Bishop-Martinez was on felony probation and on work release from the Martin County Jail on June 9 when he failed to return to the jail after his shift was complete.
Around 12:30 a.m. June 11, a worker's van was reported stolen from the Cloverleaf storage parking lot. The owner of the van said he had left the keys in his vehicle, but did not give anyone permission to take the van.
Around the same time, there was a report of a gasoline drive-off at the Casey's station in Truman. The vehicle was reported to be a van that matched the description of the one reported stolen from Cloverleaf's parking lot, and the description of the man with the van was similar to Bishop-Martinez.
Around 1:15 a.m., police received a report from Mankato that the vehicle was there, and Bishop-Martinez was the sole occupant of the vehicle.
Bishop-Martinez was taken into custody. He claimed a friend had given him the keys to the van and told him to take it to the truck stop.
Bishop-Martinez was brought back to the Martin County Jail at 5:15 a.m. He originally refused to talk, but then said someone had thrown the keys at him and told him to take it to the gas station. He said he formerly worked with the vehicle owner and that the owner gave him the keys.
The owner was contacted and he repeated that he did not give permission for anyone to take his van.
Bishop-Martinez faces charges of felony theft, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and escaping from custody; each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.