Man arrested after crime spree faces trial - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Man arrested after crime spree faces trial


LANCASTER (WKOW) -- A Grant County judge decided there was enough evidence of felonies in a crime spree to force 36-year old James Kruger to stand trial.

Authorities said the crimes began when Kruger stabbed someone in Madison earlier this month.

Grant County Chief Deputy Jack Johnson testified during a preliminary hearing Wednesday Kruger drove erratically in Platteville, and then went to his uncle's home, where he nearly killed the man,  as Kruger forced him into a basement in order to steal valuable coins and guns from safes.

Johnson testified an armed Kruger later took a hostage, who escaped in Dodgeville when Kruger drove the man's truck to a business, and told the hostage to buy him a drink.

Authorities said Kruger stole a car and crashed on Highway 18/151 in Blue Mounds after a high speed chase.

Deputy Adam Day testified he drove Kruger away from the crash, and Kruger talked about his actions.

Day testified Kruger said he owed someone money and believed his uncle had as much as $1 million. Day testified Kruger told him the only valuables he found at his uncle's home were the coins, which Kruger valued at up to $60,000.

During cross examination by Kruger's attorney, Day said Kruger told him he had used crack cocaine during the spree.

Kruger's attorney told the judge she has yet to decide on a defense in Kruger's case. Kruger's mother has told 27 News Kruger has bi-polar disorder, had been institutionalized at Mendota Mental Health Institute, and should have not been released on a signature bond on an eluding an officer charge, before the crime spree. Dane County's district attorney has said an assistant DA mistakenly believed Kruger was on state probation and would be held in jail.

Kruger also faces a federal charge, after authorities said he was a felon in possession of a firearm.  Kruger is expected to face charges in Dane County in connection to the stabbing. 

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