11/14/19 St. Charles County, MO – Man drives To St. Charles County Police Department – Steals Running Marked Police Car – Returns 5 Minutes Later – Was On Scene Doing Donuts In The Police Parking Lot – Surrendered – History Of Mental Illness

November 14, 2019


Matthew Ripple, 49, was arrested on Monday and charged with stealing a St. Charles County Police Department vehicle.

According to police, an officer started his vehicle and left it running in the parking lot to warm up, and thought he’d locked it but the key fob malfunctioned.

“He’d returned into the station to attend to some of his duties. At that point he noticed the fully marked police car pulling off the lot, which is obviously shocking,” said Lt. Dave Tiefenbrun.

Tiefenbrun said Ripple had driven to the station and parked his car next to the police car that was running. He said Ripple returned with the police car in five minutes and was seen doing donuts in the snowy parking lot but surrendered peacefully when the officer confronted him.

“Very, very bold of a thief to steal a fully marked police car,” said Tiefenbrun.

On June 29th, Ripple was arrested in Elsberry after he was accused of firing an AR-15 style rifle outside the Casey’s General Store, and then threatening customers inside the store with the rifle. According to police, Ripple said someone was trying to kill him. In surveillance video, Ripple’s 14-year old son can be seen with him.

Ripple was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a firearm and endangering the welfare of a child. Initially his bond was set at $100,000 but later it was reduced to $50,000 and he was able to post 10% of that amount and was released.

News 4 spoke with Lincoln County prosecuting attorney Michael Wood to ask why the bond was reduced after such a frightening crime. Wood said the biggest reason was that Ripple didn’t have a criminal history.

“It weighs very heavily. Normally you would presume anyone who’s lived their life with no significant criminal history whatsoever would be presumed to not be a danger to society, certainly hadn’t been in the past,” said Wood.

Court records also show certain conditions were added and would be required of Ripple if or when he was released from jail. Those conditions included getting a mental evaluation, he wasn’t allowed to possess any firearms, and was prohibited from using any non-prescribed drugs.

Following his arrest in St. Charles County, the Lincoln County prosecutor’s office filed to have his bond revoked. If Ripple is able to post the $2,500 bond set by a judge in St. Charles County, he would be transferred to the Lincoln County jail.