St. Paul man punched, arrested for weather-related auto theft attempt

Ramsey County

Ramsey County

Look, you're gonna be doing some shoveling these next few... weeks, at this rate. 

(Make it stop.)

You may also be doing some driving. You may indeed combine these two activities by shoveling your vehicle out of its snowy resting place, unless you're one of these softies who insist on parking it in a garage. If you partake in this ritual, police in St. Paul (and elsewhere, let's assume) would advise that you do not leave your car running, lest some passerby decide it looks like an easy target for grand theft auto.

It is an easy target, though technically not the easiest one to get away with. Ask Kong Meng Thao, who allegedly tried wheeling away with a St. Paul woman's Toyota Tacoma as she spread salt on the sidewalk outside her East Side neighborhood home. 

The woman had a few things in her favor: the snow under the car's tires, which made it so Thao, 28, was unable to accomplish much aside from spinning tires, according to a criminal complaint. She also apparently has a good, strong voice -- and a good son, who responded to his mom's yelling by running out of the house and hopping into the Toyota's passenger seat.

This development was a bad one for Thao, who took a punch to the face and was forcefully ejected from the truck, where this loyal son held onto him until cops showed up.

Thao has a previous conviction from last year for "violent threats," according to the Pioneer Press.

This "very brazen" effort at theft is among an "extremely high" number of similar theft incidents, according to St. Paul Police Department spokesman Mike Ernster. 

Shovel and salt (or sand) your sidewalks, it's your duty as Minnesotans. Warm your cars, that's your right as an American. Maybe just... do them at different times. And if you plan on boosting a Tacoma, don't do it in this neighborhood, you might wind up with nothing more than a punch to the face and a felony.