RENSSELAER — A Michigan man was arrested Feb. 12 after he allegedly stole a vehicle and threatened to harm himself with a knife during a traffic stop along Interstate 65.
Carl A. Rienhold, 26, of Fountain, Mich., is being held at the Jasper County Jail on preliminary charges of auto theft, a Level 6 felony; theft, a Class A misdemeanor; resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor; possession of marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor; and possession of paraphernalia, a Class C misdemeanor.
According to a press release from the Indiana State Police, Master Trooper Martin Benner was patrolling I-65 near the 212 mile-marker around 9 a.m. Friday when he observed a maroon Chevrolet Equinox driving northbound with a flat front tire along the outside shoulder. Benner followed the vehicle, with emergency lights activated, because he believed the driver was attempting to make it to a safe location to change the tire.
As the vehicle approached the exit ramp to Rensselaer, ISP stated in a press release that Rienhold made an erratic lane change, driving in the lane of travel and not on the shoulder. Benner initiated a traffic stop, curbing the vehicle on the ramp at exit 215.
Rienhold requested additional officers as well as medics to be dispatched to the scene, the press release states. The Rienhold then rolled up the window as he was displaying his identification to the trooper.
As more police arrived on scene, ISP troopers reported seeing a knife in Rienhold’s possession as he continued to make threats to harm himself, which resulted in police calling a hostage negotiator to the scene.
According to police, as negotiations with Rienhold appeared to be breaking down, troopers were able to enter the vehicle and safely take Rienhold into custody without injury to him or police.
Rienhold was taken to an area hospital where he was medically cleared and later processed for booking at the Jasper County Jail.
Police learned that the vehicle Rienhold was driving had been reported stolen via a carjacking in Huron County, Mich. They also discovered additional crimes Rienhold allegedly committed in Muskegon, Huron and Mason counties in Michigan.
According to the Ludington Daily News, a sister publication of the Rensselaer Republican, Rienhold’s alleged crime spree started early Thursday morning when someone reported to Mason County, Mich., police that a man who appeared to be “either drunk or having some mental issues” showed up at the person’s home and took their pickup truck.
Later that day, around 7 p.m. in Huron County, Mich., an 18-year-old girl reported a carjacking at knifepoint from a parking lot of Unionville-Sebewaing Area High School, in Michigan’s Thumb region. Police also found the vehicle stolen earlier that day from Mason County, nearly 150 miles away.
Early Friday morning, according to the Ludington Daily News story, the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office, located two counties south of Mason County, was notified of an armed robbery at a Comfort Inn, where Rienhold allegedly robbed a hotel customer, at knifepoint, of an undisclosed amount of cash then made a failed attempt to rob the hotel’s front desk before fleeing the scene.
Muskegon County authorities put out a statewide alert, which was also picked up by Indiana law enforcement agencies.
Rienhold is currently awaiting extradition to Michigan for warrants filed there.
No charges have been filed as of Saturday afternoon in Jasper County Circuit Court. Actual charges from Friday’s incident will be determined later by the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office.