One man is in custody after stealing a car from a Moorhead gas station

MOORHEAD, MN (Valley News Live) - An area women had her car stolen from the Holiday Gas Station on 30th Avenue South in Moorhead on Feb 12. She had her purse and several belongings still in the vehicle.

“I got a cup of coffee, I paid for it, I turned around, walked out the door and my car was gone,” said Tracy Kurth, owner of the vehicle.

In a matter of minutes, Kurth’s worst nightmare had become a reality.

“My passport, my license, my social security card,” said Kurth.

All gone in the blink of an eye. Moorhead Police were immediately called to the scene.

“While she was taking the report, they called and said they had found my car and they had the person that had stolen it,” Kurth said.

Police were quick on their feet and used store surveillance to find 32-year-old Brandon Raethz. Raethz attempted to flee and led police on a short chase before losing control of the vehicle. He ended up stuck in a snowbank off of the westbound I-94 ramp.

“They recovered everything," Kurth said. "They were so fast and just really awesome with how they came together and just got all of my stuff back."

Kurth’s car and every belonging left inside was returned to her within just a couple hours of the incident. She says she is incredibly thankful that all her worries were quickly relieved by the hard work of the Moorhead Police Department.

“I'm just so grateful to them for what they have done,” Kurth said. “I've always appreciated them, but I've come to appreciate them just a little bit more now.”

Even though her story has a happy ending, it serves as a reminder. Leaving your car running isn't worth the risk of having your vehicle and your belongings stolen.

Raethz is now in custody being held on charges of felony possession of a stolen vehicle, two counts possession of a controlled substance, and misdemeanor possession of stolen property. Investigation into this incident is ongoing.