arrest follows latest smash and grab

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:55 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

An arrest was made early Wednesday following the latest in a long string of smash and grab burglaries at gas station-convenience stores in northern Indiana and southwest Michigan.

LaPorte County Sheriff John Boyd said the 41-year old man from Gary was being held for driving on a suspended license.

Boyd called the man a ''person of interest'' in one or more of the burglaries where entry was made by shattering windows.

The apprehension was made after more than 30 cartons of cigarettes were taken before midnight at Family Express at Indiana 2 and 500 West in Pinola then a window shattered a half hour later at A & A Petroleum in Westville.

Apparently, Boyd said the suspect in Westville took off before grabbing anything when a very loud audible alarm sounded.

''Potentially, that scared him away,'' Boyd said.

Boyd said video surveillance at the Family Express revealed the suspect going inside and leaving in a Pontiac sedan.

The car is similar to the vehicle captured on video leaving Knoll Brothers in New Buffalo early Friday and some of the other victimized stores like Value Mart near Stevensville, Michigan, according to authorities.

An estimated $500 in cigarettes and alcohol were taken from the Value Mart, said Detective John Chance of the Lincoln Township Police Department.

Boyd said a patrol officers while checking gas stations in Wanatah spotted the suspected vehicle before 1 a.m.

The man tried alluding the officer by parking in a driveway but was unsuccessful.

At least seven smash and grab burglaries have been reported since December 14 when Family Express at U.S 20 and Johnson Rd. near Michigan City had up to $4,000 in cartons of cigarettes stolen.

According to police, the Shell station along U.S 12 near the Michigan state line was hit during the early morning hours Friday and Monday.

The BP station along Interstate 94 near Bridgman, Michigan was hit in early December, police said.

A sledge hammer was used to shatter the glass at two or more of the locations.

Boyd said investigators were in the process of obtaining a warrant to search the man's vehicle to see if there's any evidence like cigarettes that would connection him to the crime spree