NB man pleads guilty to felony assault, theft

James Lonsdale Artig III
James Lonsdale Artig III

A North Branch man has pleaded guilty to felony assault and theft charges stemming from incidents that occurred last year.

James Lonsdale Artig III, 29, pleaded guilty to fourth degree assault in connection with a Dec. 15 incident and felony theft, spanning from July 1 through Oct. 21, at a court hearing Feb. 21 in Chisago County District Court, according to County Attorney Janet Reiter.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered, and he is set to be sentenced on April 22, she added.

According to the complaint:

On Sunday night, Dec. 15, North Branch Police officer Rebecca Lawrence responded to a report of a suspicious male at a local gas and convenience station. Though the man had since left the business, store employees provided a description that resembled a similar report the police department received earlier that morning.

In a search of the area, Lawrence drove her squad west on Old Main Street, where she located the individual at issue walking. He was later identified as Artig.

The officer asked if he was all right, advised him that there had been a complaint and said people expressed concern for his well-being due to the cold weather and potential for exposure. The man noted he was fine and was “just walking around” because he had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend.

When Lawrence asked for his name, he responded with a different first and middle name from his own. Because Artig used his actual last name, however, the officer believed he was in fact James Lonsdale Artig III and was aware of an active warrant for his arrest.

Artig spoke briefly to the officer but then took off running north on 14th toward the cemetery. Lawrence called for assistance and activated the squad’s lights and siren, but he continued to run and elude the officer.

Lawrence then pursued Artig on foot and caught up to him. He threw his backpack at her. The officer forced him to the ground where she struggled to detain him while he continued to fight with her.

A good Samaritan and a state trooper eventually assisted Lawrence, and Artig was placed into custody. A search of his backpack revealed items including various kinds of beer.

En route to the county jail in Lawrence’s squad, the officer stopped at Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, where Artig was taken for medical treatment and turned out to be fine. The officer, however, was treated for a sprained ankle and frostbite to three fingers.

Following the incident, Artig was originally charged with felony assault, gross misdemeanor providing false information to police and fleeing an officer by foot, a misdemeanor.

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