See more of the story

Sharp-eyed police on routine patrol spotted a dangling license plate on a vehicle traveling along a Minneapolis thoroughfare, a benign-enough stop that paid off with the arrest of a gun-toting passenger who was wanted for rape and other violence.

Lavell R. Porter, 23, of Minneapolis, appeared Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Porter remains jailed not only on those counts but on charges of rape, kidnapping and first-degree assault stemming from an attack on the mother of his child last spring.

“There are certainly times when traffic stops can be routine, but there are also times when these stops turn into something much bigger,” officer Corey Schmidt, a police spokesman, wrote in a Facebook posting.

Officers Kyle Pond and Tyler Klund were patrolling along University Avenue NE. north of Lowry Avenue shortly after midnight Tuesday, when a poorly mounted front license plate caught the eye of one of the officers.

The officers pulled over the car, and Porter lacked any identification and gave them a false name.

Once they determined his identity and realized he had a felony warrant out for his capture, they arrested him after a brief foot chase.

“I have a firearm on me,” the criminal complaint quoted Porter as telling the officers. “In my right pocket.”

Sure enough, officers seized the weapon, a .38-caliber handgun, and five rounds.

The arrest was made with no one being physically harmed and no shots being fired.

Porter was legally barred from possessing a gun in connection with an aggravated robbery conviction in 2011. A message was left with Porter’s attorney Thursday seeking a response to the charges.

Also on Porter’s rap sheet are charges from when he allegedly kidnapped, beat and raped a woman who had gotten an order for protection against him.

The charges in the May attack say Porter came late at night to the home where the victim was staying, grabbed her around the neck and said he was mad about the restraining order she had the court issue on behalf of her and their children.

Prosecutors say Porter led the woman to the basement of his sister’s home, punched her in the face, stomach and limbs, kicked her in the chest and choked her until she passed out. He then raped her.

The woman fled the next afternoon through a basement window and called 911.

A warrant was issued in September for his arrest, which came on a dark Minneapolis street because police on routine patrol saw a dangling license plate.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482