EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (EAU CLAIRE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) -- On Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 1:14 p.m. the Eau Claire Communications Center received and broadcast information regarding a vehicle that had just been involved in a theft of gas in Dunn County. The dispatcher recalled that this was the same vehicle that Eau Claire Police Department Detectives were looking for related to other investigations in the City of Eau Claire. The presumed driver of the vehicle was James J.M. Albrecht who was currently absconding from community supervision and had criminal history that included convictions for Armed Robbery, Burglary, Resisting Arrest, Possession of Methamphetamine and Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
While patrolling Craig Road, an Eau Claire Police Department Patrol Officer located the vehicle with Albrecht driving. The officer followed and contacted the vehicle in a parking lot on Imperial Circle. At that point, Albrecht quickly backed up toward the officer nearly striking the squad car before attempting to flee in the vehicle. Albrecht fled the vehicle on foot after the vehicle became disabled on a snowbank. It was at that point that the officer observed a handgun in Albrecht’s hand as he ran from the scene.
Officers pursued Albrecht as he ran westbound down the hill behind businesses on Craig Road toward multifamily dwellings on Hidden Place. Officers lost sight of Albrecht and set up a perimeter to contain him in the immediate area. A search of the area quickly revealed that Albrecht had entered one of the housing units. Additional information showed that multiple innocent residents were also inside the unit, including three children.
Officers from multiple law enforcement jurisdictions including the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office Regional Tactical Team and the Eau Claire Police Department Tactical Response and Crisis Negotiation Teams arrived on scene and began a hostage negotiation with Albrecht. The Crisis Negotiation Team was able to gain the release of all five hostages at various stages throughout the five and a half hour negotiation.
At 7:46 p.m. negotiators secured the peaceful surrender of James Albrecht. Members of the Tactical Response Team took him into custody without further incident. During follow-up investigation and search of the residence, investigators recovered a loaded handgun and other weapons that belonged to Albrecht. No one was physically injured during the duration of this case. James Albrecht is being held in the Eau Claire County Jail and is expected to appear in Eau Claire County Circuit Court on Friday.
“This was a very dangerous situation that was caused by one individual who has since been arrested. He put the public in danger and traumatized five innocent people, including three children. He will be held accountable for his actions,” added Eau Claire Police Chief Jerry Staniszewski. “Thankfully the Eau Claire Police Department trains for situations like this and was ready to take action to protect the community and this family in need.”
The Eau Claire Police Department appreciates the support and patience of the Eau Claire community and the assistance of all of the agencies that actively assisted during this incident:
-Eau Claire Police Department
-Crisis Negotiation Team
-Tactical Response Team
-Crime Scene Unit
-Eau Claire Communications Center
-Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office
-Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office Regional Tactical Team
-West Central Drug Task Force
-University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Police Department
-Wisconsin State Patrol
-Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation
-Wisconsin Department of Corrections
-Eau Claire County
-District Attorney’s Office
-City of Eau Claire
-City Manager’s Office
-Eau Claire Area School District
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) --Police plan to release more information about Wednesday's hostage situation on Hidden Place.
Eau Claire police expect to release that information later on Thursday. On Wednesday night, officers arrested James Albrecht, 31 at an apartment. He's accused of invading a home, and taking two adults and three children hostage. The hostages were released through police negotiation. Police say Albrecht has a criminal history including armed robberies, carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, burglary, and methamphetamine possession.
As of Thursday morning, Albrecht did not have an appearance scheduled in Eau Claire County court.