By Shereen Siewert

A 31-year-old man arrested after allegedly stealing two vehicles in Wausau and leading police on a chase with speeds topping 100 mph is facing a new charge after police determined the weapon he used in the robbery was stolen.

Brand Biller, who was wanted on charges elsewhere around the state, was arrested in September 2020 after a 50-minute standoff with police. Investigators say he stole an Aspirus transport van at gunpoint, stole a second vehicle at a home on Knox Street, then fled from police on Hwy. 51 before being apprehended in Weston. He was already facing charges of armed robbery, burglary, operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent, possession of a firearm as a felon and fleeing an officer in connection with the case – and in November entered a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to those charges.

The incident unfolded at about 7 p.m. on Sept. 1, when Marathon County dispatch took a call reporting an alleged armed robbery and theft of a transport van from Aspirus Wausau Hospital. Witnesses told police a man entered the van, which was occupied, pulled out a handgun and made unspecified demands of the driver. The driver, an Aspirus employee, escaped unharmed and Biller allegedly fled the scene in the van, police said.

About 15 minutes later, dispatchers took a second call of a stolen vehicle, this time from a home in the 1500 block of West Knox Street. Police say Biller entered the home, said he had a gun and took the keys to the car, leaving the abandoned Aspirus transport van behind, police said.

The second stolen vehicle was located by a Marathon County Sheriff’s deputy who spotted the car traveling east on Hwy. 29 from Hwy. 51. Biller allegedly refused to stop and a chase began, reaching speeds topping 100 mph, police said.

With deputies in pursuit, the suspect left the roadway on E Everest Avenue near Community Center Drive in Weston. A Marathon County Sheriff’s lieutenant pinned the suspect’s vehicle against a tree, disabling the stolen vehicle.

But Biller refused to surrender, police said, and a standoff followed. Police say Biller remained inside the vehicle, gun in hand, and threatened to commit suicide. Eventually, the lieutenant persuaded Biller to surrender and no one was injured.

In January, the investigation took a new turn when a Shawano County deputy contacted local police regarding the firearm recovered when Biller was arrested. Police say the .22 revolver was stolen from an 85-year-old Shawano resident’s home.

Brand now faces an additional charge of receiving a stolen firearm, a Class H felony. Brand, who was on extended supervision for an earlier crime at the time of the armed robbery, is being held in a Wisconsin prison after his probation was revoked. He will be summoned into court Sept. 1 for an initial appearance on the latest charge.