Violent Chronic Offender on Parole Released on Zero Bail after New Felony Charge

A violent offender on parole is released on zero bail amid assurances by authorities that only 'low-level, non-violent' offenders will be considered for zero bail release during the COVID-19 crisis.

Micheal Eugene Erdos

A chronic offender recently released on parole who has a history of convictions for violent crimes, including using a pliers and a blowtorch to threaten a woman he was living with, was just released from custody on zero bail after being charged with a new felony.

Micheal Eugene Erdos was arrested on Monday and subsequently charged with felony auto theft after police in South St. Paul, MN, identified him as the driver of a stolen vehicle during a traffic stop.

During the traffic stop, Erdos told police he’d purchased the vehicle for $250 from a person he couldn’t name. Officers noted wires hanging from the ignition and that the vehicle contained two sets of license plates.

Erdos was charged in Dakota County on Tuesday with one count of felony theft and made his first court appearance on the charge on Wednesday. Erdos was granted a public defender and was ordered conditionally released on zero bail by Judge David L. Knutson with the court record citing “pandemic event.” No future court dates have been scheduled.

Criminal records show that Erdos has at least 35 prior convictions in Minnesota including 10 felonies – nine of them since 2013. Erdos’ felony convictions include third-degree assault and terroristic threats in the 2013 case where he was accused of repeated domestic abuse of an Inver Grove Heights woman that culminated in his use of pliers and a blowtorch to terrorize her. Erdos’ other felony convictions include violation of a domestic abuse no contact order, possession of firearms or ammunition by a violent felon, fleeing police, theft, controlled substance and obstruction.

Erdos was recently released from incarceration in Oct. 2019 following a weapons conviction and was placed on supervised release (parole) until June 2021. 


The release of Erdos, 30, on zero bail comes amid assurances by officials over the last month that only “non-violent” and “low level” offenders who pose little or no danger to public safety will be released on zero bail under new jail protocols and policies implemented to reduce jail populations in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Offender advocates like the ACLU-MN and MN Dept. of Corrections Ombudsman Mark Haase are also pushing the narrative that the offenders and suspects they would like to see released are of little concern to public safety.

Related: MN Public Defender Advocates for Release of Prisoners Amid Coronavirus Worries

In late March, Ramsey County Jail began releasing so-called “lower-level, non-violent” inmates following an order from Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann

Crimes listed in the judge’s order as “low-level” and qualifying for release without conditions, bail or bond requirements include all misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, with the exception of certain domestic violence, harassment and DWI crimes. Felony crimes considered “low-level” and listed as part of the order for release include theft, fraud, check forgery, identity theft, receiving stolen property, tampering with a motor vehicle, financial card fraud, drug possession and several other felony-level crimes.

A report last week said that Ramsey County Jail’s population has been reduced by 54 percent since the pandemic protocols have been implemented. A graphic presented during an April 6 hearing in the House Public Safety Committee showed dramatic decreases in other local jail populations, including a 41 percent decrease in the Dakota County Jail population compared to pre-COVID-19 numbers in January.


The Insurance Information Institute reports that about $6 billion was lost to motor vehicle theft in 2018, and that the average dollar loss per theft was over $8,400, according to information tracked by the FBI. The institute also states that consumers in urban areas pay more for insurance coverage due to thefts and vandalism.

According to credit score reporting company Experian, the average cost to victims of identity theft is over $1,300 per incident. The US Dept. of Justice noted in a recent report that 17.6 million people, or 7% of all U.S. residents age 16 or older, were victims of one or more incidents of identity theft. Experian also stated that victims experience other intangible impacts related to the crime including emotional tolls which can manifest in feelings of fear and anger. Victims can also experience damage to their credit scores, which can go undetected for long periods of time only be realized when they get denied on future loan or credit card applications.

The Nilson Report, a newsletter covering the financial card and mobile payment industry, puts loss from financial card fraud at nearly $28 billion globally and almost $9.5 billion in the US in 2018.

Even though Minnesota has made a deliberate choice to send fewer people to prison than most states and has one of the lowest incarceration rates per capita in the US, there has long been a push by activists to reduce inmate populations even further, well before the COVID-19 crisis emerged. 

The possibility of long-term consequences and lasting impacts to public safety along with unknown victim and societal costs as a result of reduced arrests, prosecutions and incarcerations as a result of the COVID-19 crisis cannot begin to be estimated at this point.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota

Crime Watch MN

Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.