Search of LaPorte Residence Leads to Two Arrests

LaPorte authorities arrested two after a search warrant was conducted at a home on Ohio Street in LaPorte on Thursday.

Case workers from the Indiana Department of Child Services and investigators from the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit were called to investigate the welfare of a three-year-old child and officers found that illegal activity may be occurring at the residence.

Eric Slayton, 32, and 20-year-old Aldo Zappitelli were arrested and taken to the LaPorte County Jail on preliminary charges of Dealing a Schedule I Controlled Substance (heroin), a Class B Felony, and Possession of Marijuana, a Class A Misdemeanor. Zappitelli was also booked on a warrant for Burglary in the state of Michigan and is being held without bond. He could be extradited from LaPorte County as a result of the warrant. Slayton’s bond was set at $3,505 cash.

Former LaPorte County Man Arrested as Suspect in String of Burglaries

Jason Hurt

A former LaPorte County man has been arrested as a suspect in several burglary incidents that occurred in January in 2012.

Jason Hurt, 33, has been wanted for an outstanding warrant for violating his probation, and on Dec. 28, officers with the LaPorte County Detective Bureau and the LaPorte County Metro Operations Unit learned that Hurt was at a home in rural LaPorte.

Continue reading

LaPorte Man Arrested after Robbery Incident

A bank robbery suspect was arrested quickly after a robbery incident occurred at a Fifth Third Bank branch in LaPorte Thursday morning.

Detectives from the LaPorte City Police Department and officers from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department were given a description of the suspect and through a collaborative effort with bank employees, the suspect, 32-year-old Ryan S. Mounts, of LaPorte, was quickly apprehended.

Continue reading

Sexually Violent Predator being Sought by LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department

Maurice Ward

LaPorte County deputies are attempting to locate a sexually violent predator.

28-year-old Maurice Ward is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender, a Class C Felony. He is also wanted by the Indiana Department of Corrections Parole Board for a parole violation.

Ward was convicted of Criminal Confinement as a Class B Felony and it was then he was identified by Indiana Code as a Sexually Violent Predator. He was also convicted in 2010 for failing to register as a sex offender.

Continue reading

LaPorte County Jail Inmate Miscarries

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

La Porte County Sheriff's Office

An inmate at the LaPorte County Jail miscarried after an incident with police.

A woman who had been incarcerated in the jail on a probation violation since November 14, was reportedly involved in a physical altercation with another inmate. A jailer intervened and was taken to the floor by one of the inmates before other deputies responded to the incident.

Continue reading

Juveniles Arrested For Killing Cows in LaPorte

Two juveniles were taken into custody by LaPorte County Sheriff’s deputies Wednesday after they allegedly shot and killed three cows at a rural LaPorte County farm.

Deputies were called to a farm in the 5100 S. block of County Road 425 West after shots were reportedly fired. Deputies met with a farmer who discovered that three of his cows were killed. He told police that he heard five gunshots and got into his vehicle and found the suspect’s vehicle and wrote down the numbers on the license plate. That information was relayed to police and the vehicle was later located by police.

Continue reading

LaPorte County Man Arrested For Driving While Intoxicated, Causing Death

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and LaPorte County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team (FACT) have announced the arrest of a LaPorte County man for his involvement in a crash early Thursday morning that left one person dead.

LaPorte Circuit Court Judge Thomas Alevizos found probable cause to charge 29-year-old Thomas Drnek II with Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated as a Class A misdemeanor, and Operating a Vehicle While Intoxicated Causing Death, a Class B felony.

Continue reading

LaPorte Man Dies in Early Morning Accident

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Deputies, along with the LaPorte County Fatal Alcohol Crash Team, are investigating a fatal accident that occurred early this (Thursday) morning.

Shortly after 2:30 a.m., officers arrived at the scene in the 3000 block of U.S. Highway 35 north of LaPorte and found a vehicle in a wooded area, approximately 50 feet off the roadway. One occupant, 29-year-old Thomas Drnek II was found nearby with a head injury and another occupant, 26-year-old Jacob Anderson of LaPorte, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

Continue reading

Former Elementary School Principal Arrested for Sexual Misconduct

A former Indiana elementary school principal was recently arrested on charges relating to an alleged online sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl while employed as a high school teacher. According to LaPorte County police, 40-year-old Brian Strauss of Michigan City faces felony charges of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, Child Solicitation, and Vicarious Sexual Gratification.

Investigators said Strauss had begun the online relationship in 2008, chatting with the girl while employed as a teacher at South Central High School in Union Mills. Police say he later viewed the girl performing sex acts via webcam, and the girl reportedly told police that she had several sexual encounters with Strauss at school.
Strauss was employed as principal at South Adams Elementary School in Berne until his resignation on Oct. 3.

Former South Central Teacher Arrested on Charges of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

La Porte County Sheriff's Office

A former teacher from the South Central School Corporation has been arrested after officers from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department investigated a claim that he allegedly had an inappropriate relationship with a former student.

40-year-old Brian L. Strauss was arrested at his home in Michigan City yesterday afternoon and has been charged with two counts of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, as a Class B Felony and a Class C Felony, Child Solicitation as a Class C Felony and Vicarious Sexual Gratification, a Class D Felony.

Continue reading

LaPorte Teen Arrested after Escaping from the LaPorte County Juvenile Detention Center

A LaPorte teenager was arrested yesterday after escaping from the LaPorte County Juvenile Detention Center.

The teen escaped from the center and stole a truck in the Westville area with plans to pick up an ex-girlfriend at South Central High School. Police later located the vehicle near the school and attempted a traffic stop, but the driver fled.

Continue reading

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Dept. On Lookout For Armed Robbery Suspect

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

La Porte County Sheriff's Office

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department is looking for an armed robbery suspect.

A Caucasian male entered the Speedway gas station at the intersection of U.S. 35 and Highway 20 on Monday evening, brandished a gun, and demanded cash with a gesture. He was able to leave with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Continue reading

LaPorte Man Arrested on Charges after a July 19 Fatality Accident

A LaPorte man was arrested on a warrant yesterday in South Bend after he was reportedly involved in an accident that killed one person and seriously injured two children in LaPorte County.

The South Bend Police Department and the U.S. Marshals service notified the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department that 35-year-old John R. Mikle had been arrested.

Continue reading

LaPorte Man Arrested For Manufacturing Methamphetamine

A LaPorte man was arrested Wednesday after LaPorte Metro Operations personnel followed him as part of a surveillance operation to a residence in the 200 block of Worden Street in LaPorte. Police say when they approached the home, they were given permission to search and soon found precursors and what appeared to be the initial stages of methamphetamine production.

Matthew Rancatore, 23, was arrested at the scene and taken to the LaPorte County Jail, where he is pending bond. The Indiana State Police Methamphetamine Suppression Team from Lowell was notified and responded to the scene for further investigation as well as the removal and safe disposal of the chemical components of the methamphetamine lab.

Continue reading

Woman Stabbed and Robbed After Trying To Help Stranded Motorist

A good Samaritan was stabbed and robbed when she stopped to assist what she thought was a stranded motorist on Thursday just south of the city of LaPorte.

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department Chief of Detectives John Boyd says a woman had stopped her vehicle on 250 South near 100 West to lend a hand to a man who she thought was having trouble with his tan- or cream-colored Honda Sonata, when the suspect suddenly stabbed her and stole her money. While police have yet to arrest a suspect, an investigation is underway.

The incident took place early Thursday afternoon, and the victim has since been treated and released from the hospital.

LaPorte Man Dies in Accident

A LaPorte man was killed in a Toll Road accident late last night.

Ryan Joseph Smith, 20, of LaPorte was northbound on Holmsville Road in LaPorte County when for unknown reasons, he drove off the overpass. His vehicle went airborne and struck a semi pulling a box trailer on Interstate 80. Smith’s vehicle then rolled multiple times through the median. Smith was ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle continued into the westbound lanes where it struck another semi.

Continue reading

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department Investigates Shooting

A LaPorte County woman was injured and her ex-husband was later found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department officers were called to a residence in Coolspring Township on Monday on a call that shots were fired. A 41-year-old female was found at the scene with a soft tissue injury to her back and side. The victim had been shot at while inside the home. The suspect reportedly fired at her and barely missed her. Police believe that the victim was injured by glass fragments and window fragments caused by the bullet that went through the window.

Continue reading

LaPorte County Stepping Up Patrols For Prom

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office and the LaPorte County DUI Task Force has announced that it will increase enforcement and patrols around prom and post-prom sites this spring, with a goal of deterring alcohol use and eliminating alcohol-related crashes among high school prom attendees.

Proms will start Saturday, April 28th, for Marquette, New Prairie, South Central, and Westville High Schools, and will continue through Saturday, June 2nd when Michigan City High School will host their prom and post-prom. The DUI Taskforce will saturate the areas around each prom and post-prom site in an effort to deter potential alcohol and drug use, with zero-tolerance toward the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages. Those who provide alcohol to minors will be targeted and jailed.

Continue reading

LaPorte Bank Robbed At Gunpoint

A man was arrested in Elburn, Illinois, after fleeing from police following his alleged robbery of the LaPorte Savings Bank. On Friday, April 20th, deputies from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office were called to the bank in response to a hold-up alarm. Within several seconds of the alarm, the LaPorte County Regional Dispatch Center received a telephone call from an employee of the bank who said that the bank had just been robbed at gunpoint, and he said that a single male had entered the bank with a handgun.

Continue reading

13th Annual Peace Officer Memorial Scheduled for May 9th in LaPorte

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

LaPorte County Sheriff's Department

The LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting the 13th Annual Peace Officer Memorial on Wednesday, May 9th.

The ceremony is held each year in remembrance of fallen officers in LaPorte County, as well as the United States, and also recognizes those that are injured in the line of duty. Orland Park, Illinois Police Chief Tim McCarthy will be this year’s keynote speaker. Chief McCarthy, who retired from the United States Secret Service, is best known for his heroic effort to save President Ronald Reagan during an attempt on the President’s life on March 30th, 1981. McCarthy used his body to shield President Reagan and as a result, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest.

Continue reading