Man Arrested on Auto Theft Charges


A two-month investigation has led to the arrest of a businessman operating out of LaPorte county.

The Sheriff’s Department says 38-year-old Erik Smith has been arrested on multiple charges relating to auto theft, conversion, and deception. An investigation was started in November after detectives received complaints that vehicles weren’t being returned to customers at the Steroid Diesel location along US Highway 30 in Wanatah.

According to a press release, Smith was evicted from that location and set-up a new operation in the 56-hundred block of US 421 in Westville. On January 22nd, a search warrant was executed at the location. Detectives allegedly located items that were reported to have been taken, including a stolen vehicle.

Smith was taken into custody by US Marshals and was transferred to the LaPorte County Jail this week. He is facing four counts of Auto Theft, nine counts of Conversion, and one count of Deception in the case – all of which are Level 6 felonies.

Smith is being held in lieu of $7,500 bond.