Accused dump truck thief back in police custody -


Accused dump truck thief back in police custody

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Joseph MacDonald was arrested Wednesday after he stole a dump truck and lead police on a three county chase. (Credit: St. Louis City Justice Center) Joseph MacDonald was arrested Wednesday after he stole a dump truck and lead police on a three county chase. (Credit: St. Louis City Justice Center)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

Accused dump truck thief Joseph “Joey” Macdonald is back in police custody after being released when warrants couldn't be obtained earlier in the month.

Macdonald is accused of stealing a Ford F750 truck in Potosi and running from police for two hours in a wild ride that wound through Jefferson and St. Louis Counties before going into Illinois and then into St. Louis City.

The St. Louis Police Department explained in a statement, that officers who took the paperwork to the warrant office after Macdonald’s initial arrest encountered a backlog and were unable to obtain warrants on Macdonald before he’d been in custody for 24 hours and had to be released. The Circuit Attorney’s Office said the officers failed to notify anyone that the case was time sensitive. 

Macdonald was taken back into custody June 15 after being found an associate’s home in the 4900 block of Parker Avenue. Officials said he had a pistol on him at the time of his arrest. Another person at the house was taken into custody for unrelated active felony warrants, officials said.

Here's the statement that St. Louis Police released about the release from jail of Joey Macdonald:

Joseph Macdonald, a 39-year old white male, for Tampering 1st; he was arrested on 5/30/18 at 12:00PM. The officers arrived at the Circuit Attorney’s Warrant Office and signed into the log book on 5/31/18 at 9:44AM.

At 11:45AM a processing clerk called the CAO to inquire as to the status of the case. He was advised there was a "back log" and the officers were still in the waiting room. He again called at 12:10PM and checked on the status of the case. He was again advised the officers were still waiting to speak with an attorney due to the "back log" and it would be " a while.

At 1:00PM MacDonald was released from the Justice Center due to a 24-hour violation and having heard no word from either the officers or the CAO staff.

A short time after the suspect was released, the officer arrived at the Justice Center with the warrant application signed by a Circuit Attorney issuing charges. The time the attorney wrote when he signed was 12:55PM which is 55 minutes after the 24-hour hold expired.  We are actively looking for the suspect and ask that anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers, 866-371-TIPS.

Here's the statement released by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office:

Mr. MacDonald was arrested at noon, Tuesday, May 30th. Police have 24 hours to apply for charges before a suspect has to be released from custody, by law.

We have an established process in the Warrant Office that allows us to prioritize warrant applications when an SLMPD officer informs our staff that there is a time sensitive matter that needs to be addressed immediately regarding the custody of a suspect.

The officer arrived in the Warrant Office at 9:45am on May 31st. The officer did not alert our staff that there was a time sensitive matter that needed to be addressed immediately. (There is signage outside the office that directs officers to inform the staff of time-sensitive issues.)

The Circuit Attorney’s Office received a call at 11:45am from prison processing to determine the status of the warrant application.   We immediately moved the case to the front of the line.  Prosecutors began reviewing the evidence to ensure the proper charges were filed and the law was followed. A complaint was issued by the CAO at 12:31pm and a warrant was issued at 12:56pm.

Despite the large volume of cases processed in the office Thursday, prosecutors moved as quickly as possible within the limited time provided by police to issue charges.  Police have a responsibility to provide appropriate time for prosecutors to review the evidence and charges, to ensure we are not violating someone’s constitutional rights. 

It is unclear why officers did not bring these charges to the CAO on Wednesday afternoon when they had the defendant in custody before the Warrant Office closes.  Police could have also requested that a prosecutor remain late on Wednesday. The police department has an obligation to follow established protocols and partner with prosecutors to ensure dangerous suspects are not inadvertently released from custody.  The speed at which Mr. MacDonald is taken into custody is outside of the control of the Circuit Attorney’s Office at this time.

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