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Cottage Grove woman charged in alleged theft, fleeing case

Two women were due to appear in court this month after a June 3 shoplifting incident led to a car crash and an arrest in Woodbury.

Jennifer Servedio, 34, Cottage Grove, was charged in Washington County District Court with aiding and abetting theft and fleeing police in a motor vehicle - both felonies.

Prosecutors claim Servedio was the getaway driver for another woman accused of stealing a pair of sneakers from Sports Authority in Oakdale. That woman, St. Paul resident Maranda O'Brien, 33, faces three felony charges in the case, including one count of drug possession.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police received a report at 4:58 p.m. June 3 of a theft in progress at Sports Authority. Woodbury officers received a description of the suspect vehicle and caught up with it at Tamarack Road near Landau Drive.

The officer flipped on his emergency lights and drove over a cement median in an attempt to stop the car. The driver, later identified as Servedio, evaded capture due heavy traffic; the officer eventually lost sight of the vehicle, a maroon Mercury Marquis.

The officer was later approached by a concerned citizen who asked if he was looking for a maroon Mercury and gave him the vehicle's last known location. Other police squads went to that area - Landau Drive near Cambria Court - where the suspect vehicle was found unattended after having crashed into a parked car there.

Witnesses said the two female suspects had fled the scene on foot. They were later apprehended after being found in a driveway in the 400 block of Bielenberg Drive. A search of O'Brien's purse turned up a pipe that police said tested positive for methamphetamine residue. O'Brien denied the purse and pipe belonged to her.

O'Brien allegedly admitted to stealing a pair of athletic shoes at Sports Authority and getting into the car. She said Servedio took off and reached speeds of up to 100 mph - a rate of travel O'Brien said was not "worth it" for what she suspected was a misdemeanor offense.

Servedio gave police a somewhat different account. She said she gave O'Brien a ride to the sporting goods store so O'Brien could buy a pair of shoes as a gift. Servedio said O'Brien left the store and was followed by an employee who slammed her into the car, ordering her to drop the shoes.

The complaint states Servedio told police the purse did belong to O'Brien. She also claimed O'Brien told her to flee police and that O'Brien caused the crash by jerking the steering wheel.

Servedio's next court appearance is Thursday. O'Brien is due in court again June 30.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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