Jun. 25—EAU CLAIRE — Ally Weyer admits she acted impulsively Wednesday morning when she jumped in the back of a truck that had pulled up to Princeton Valley Golf Course. Burglars had tried to take an ATM out of the front of the building, but they weren't aware that Weyer and her fiance, Josh Walberg, were sleeping in an upstairs apartment that faces the parking lot.
"I really don't know what I was doing," Weyer said. "I jumped in the back and thought, 'Well, now what do I do?' There were backpacks and boxes in the back, so I started tossing them."
Walberg said the truck drove away at high speeds, and it was moving erratically, as if they were trying to toss Weyer out of the back.
"I was just dumbfounded," Walberg said. "I was presented with an equation I didn't have a solution for."
Luckily for Walberg, he had his keys in his shorts pockets. He ran to his car and began to pursue the truck. He estimated he was 15 to 20 seconds behind them.
"She was throwing out bags and boxes," Walberg said. "It was like she was leaving me bread crumbs."
Weyer said leaving clues for her fiance wasn't the first thing on her mind.
"I thought it was just a good idea to leave evidence," she said.
The attempted break-in occurred at about 4:45 a.m. Wednesday. Weyer and Walberg were asleep when the truck backed up to the front door. The noise woke them up, and they quickly threw on some clothes. Walberg had the good fortune to put on his shorts that had his car keys.
"We didn't know what was going on. We were half-dazed," Walberg said. "We immediately ran downstairs; we didn't know what to expect."
The burglars were attempting to take the ATM that was in the front lobby area. The thieves clearly didn't anticipate anyone being there, Weyer and Walberg agreed. The startled thieves immediately ran back to their truck to flee.
"We didn't have time to think," Walberg said. "Luckily, they didn't have weapons. We scared them enough they didn't know what to do."
Weyer said she never anticipated someone would try to take the ATM.
"We thought if someone ever broke in, they'd go for liquor or cash," she said.
As the would-be thieves fled, Weyer — barefoot and barely dressed — made her leap for the back of the car. The chase was on.
With Weyer in the rear of the truck and Walberg in pursuit, the thieves were clearly perplexed on their next move, the couple said.
"We have a feeling they aren't from around here, and they were just casing the place," Walberg said.
The suspects, who have since been apprehended and arrested, are identified as Nicholas Mason, 31, and Tayler Frank, 28, both of St. Paul, Minn. Frank was charged with burglary to a building; she will return to court for a preliminary hearing June 29.
The way they drove through a neighborhood and their decision to turn onto a dead-end road was among the reasons Walberg and Weyer believed they weren't from the Chippewa Valley.
Weyer and Walberg said the thieves' truck stopped, and they hopped in a van.
"I was able to cut that van off," Walberg said. "They reversed and went down a dead-end (road)."
Knowing the area, Walberg said he knew that van would have to eventually loop back past them, as there aren't any other exits in that neighborhood.
"(Weyer) parked (their truck) perpendicular in the road as a barricade," Walberg said. "We just waited for them to come back down. That's when they jumped the curb. They grounded the van; they either got stuck on a culvert or hit a tree."
The suspects exited the vehicle and fled into a nearby wooded area. Some people living in the neighborhood assisted by calling police to come to the area and help search for the burglars.
Walberg is just glad they weren't injured. They wondered if the other items in the truck and van also were stolen goods, and if the burglars were attempting to take the ATM at the conclusion of a heist.