A suspect who stole an empty cash register from a Winnipeg business attempted a wet and icy escape from Winnipeg police by jumping into the Assiniboine River.

It began with Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) officers and a K9 unit responding to a business in the 2000 block of Portage Avenue around 10:15 p.m. Thursday.

A male had been observed damaging a closed business' front door. He then entered the business and stole its empty cash register.

The suspect fled on foot. Officers attending the incident followed the suspect's tracks in the fresh snow, leading from the business to the Assiniboine River.

The suspect jumped into the river and alternated between swimming in open water and falling through thin ice, police say. He continued to yell at officers while evading arrest.

Two members of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) water rescue team were deployed into the water and on the ice to try and rescue the suspect. The suspect continued to refuse help for a lengthy period of time.

WPS says the man was in the water or on ice for about 27 minutes before he was safely taken into police custody.

The suspect was then taken to hospital for precautionary reasons. He was medically cleared.

The WPS major crimes unit has continued with the investigation.

The man, a 32-year-old from Winnipeg, is facing a  charge of breaking and entering as well as two outstanding arrest warrants.

He has been detained in custody.