Minn. Senator's Son Arrested in N.M.

Wednesday, September 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — The son of Sen. Rod Grams of Minnesota was charged with theft and eluding arrest after he jumped out of a third-floor motel window and hid from police investigating the theft of a stolen car, authorities said.

Morgan Grams, 22, jumped out the motel window Tuesday when officers knocked on the door of a room where he was staying with two other people, including a 15-year-old girl, state police said.

Grams was found about 10 minutes later by police dogs, hiding in a canal behind the motel. He was treated for a broken ankle.

State Police Lt. Gene Galassini said officers became suspicious when they saw the three at a restaurant, checked the license plate on their car and found that the vehicle had been reported stolen. The officers found stolen silver bars and coins valued at more than $2,500 in the car, plus a 12-gauge shotgun.

The Republican senator issued a statement Tuesday saying his relief that his son had been found was ``tempered with my great disappointment in my son. Of course I love Morgan very much — nothing will change that and I will never give up trying to help him overcome the addictions and problems that have plagued him during his life.''

The incumbent is embroilled in a bitter race against Democratic challenger Mark Dayton.

In May, the younger Grams pleaded guilty to charges from an incident last summer in which he borrowed a friend's car, forged checks in her name and used her credit card.

He entered that plea after being arrested for not appearing in court on charges from a separate incident in January, in which he was accused of destroying property and disorderly conduct at a convenience store.

In July 1999, he was stopped in a borrowed rental vehicle in which a deputy found marijuana and beer cans. He pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor marijuana charge after an outside investigation found that he had been given no special treatment because of his position as a senator's son.

In Las Cruces, bail was set at $52,000 for Grams and $51,000 Mark Anderson, 18. The two are roommates in Isanti, Minn., 35 miles north of Minneapolis. The 15-year-old girl, listed as a runaway, was being returned to her family in Isanti.

The two men had picked up the girl near her home on Friday, the girl's mother said. The girl's parents later found that cash, the coins and the shotgun were missing from a bedroom closet, they told authorities.

Grams and Anderson were each charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property, possession of a stolen firearm and conspiracy. Grams also was charged with evading, eluding and resisting arrest.