JASPER COUNTY — Besides dealing with slide-offs and stranded motorists over the weekend, local police departments were involved in an auto theft ring at the Fieldhouse car dealership in DeMotte early Saturday morning.
According to Jasper County Sheriff Patrick Williamson in Monday morning’s Zoom call with county commissioners, five Dodge vehicles were taken from the Fieldhouse lot at around 4:18 a.m. Saturday. Three of the vehicles were stolen from the lot and two others were the suspects’ vehicles.
“This was basically a big theft ring of cars, primarily of Dodge cars from the northern part of our state, into south Chicago and into Illinois,” Williamson said.
The vehicles taken were Dodge Chargers and Trailhawks.
JCSD deputies and DeMotte Police officers pursued the suspects northbound on I-65 into Lake County, said DeMotte Police Chief Thomas Jarrett.
A Lake County officer patrolling the interstate and U.S. 231 joined the pursuit when he observed several vehicles traveling at speeds exceeding 130 miles per hour.
Numerous departments in Lake County, as well as an air unit and Indiana State troopers joined the pursuit, resulting in three stolen vehicles being abandoned as well as one of the suspect’s vehicle. It was learned later that the vehicle was reported stolen in Chicago.
Three suspects took off on foot with officers following at various locations. They were later taken into custody.
All vehicles were taken to Lake County Sheriff’s Department where they will be processed. Crown Point Officers continued searching for more suspects until 9 a.m. Sunday morning, utilizing K9’s in wooded areas.
Firearms were found in some of the vehicles, which were returned to Fieldhouse in DeMotte after they were processed by police.
A scene technician from Indiana State Police also processed the scene at the dealership and video surveillance was recovered. In addition to the stolen vehicles, two other vehicles were damaged at the dealership.
The DeMotte Police Department is working with the Vehicle Theft Division of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department to identify the other suspects.
Currently being held at Lake County Jail are Malik Redman, 21, of Chicago; Laroy Pollard, 23, of Indianapolis; and a 17-year-old male. Charges for auto theft are anticipated to be filed in Jasper County within the next few days.
“This pursuit happened just hours after another incident where a 31-year-old man led police on a high-speed chase and slammed into two police squad vehicles,” Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. said in a release. “That case ended with shots fired and police eventually apprehending the suspect at 25th and Broadway in Gary. At the time, we were involved in a countywide blitz aimed at helping to end the rise in carjackings and car thefts in the area.”