Portage police detained two Illinois men on Sunday. One of them was found tampering with a vehicle behind a barbed wire fence. Another man was arrested after the attack on a house in New Chicago, while the third man is still at large.
A press release stated that Portage police issued an active alert to TLG Peterbilt at 5900 Southport Road at around 3pm on Sunday.
A security monitoring service reported to the Porter County Central Dispatch Center. They were looking at two people on the property. They cut a hole in the chain link fence around the business, and the couple were tampering with vehicles in the parking lot.
When the police arrived, the two broke up and fled. The first person, 40-year-old William Oiler of Blue Island, was detained for several minutes after being tracked by the K-9 team. The police said he was arrested in Illinois on suspicion of parole violation.
The K-9 team tried to track down the second person but was unsuccessful. The police said he was still at large.
The police said that evidence collected from the scene showed that the two men were robbing the tires of various trailers in trucks in the area. The business owner reported that the two people caused approximately $1,500 in damages to the business and the vehicle.
While the police officer was still looking for the second person, a Portage officer saw a white 2016 Ford van with an Illinois license plate, driving into the area and driving west on the dead road. When the truck suddenly turned around and started to flee, the police officer turned around to follow him, and he activated the emergency lights or sirens.
The officer provided the license plate to the dispatcher, who confirmed that the truck was reported to have been stolen from Illinois.
With emergency lights and sirens activated, the officer chased the truck from the Ameriplex Drive and Indiana 249 areas to Interstate 94 westbound, and then headed southbound Indiana 51. Subsequently, the truck turned west on US Highway 6.
When the man fled westbound, he lost control of the truck in the New Chicago Illinois Street area. The truck left the carriageway and stopped at the corner of the house on the west side of the intersection.
The police detained the 55-year-old Harvey driver Michael Koffet. According to reports, he told the police that he was the driver of two other suspects involved in the theft attempt.
He claimed to hit his head in a collision with a house and was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center before being sent to Porter County Jail for felony car theft and boycotting law enforcement.
The police transported the Oiler into prison on felony charges, including misdemeanors, crimes and hoaxes, and an unexecuted arrest warrant.
The New Chicago Police Department conducted an accident investigation and recovery of the stolen vehicle. Other assistance agencies include the Ogden Dunes Police Department; Indiana Department of Natural Resources Conservation officials; National Park Service Rangers; Hobart Police Department; Lake Police Station Police Department; and Lake Station EMS.