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CROWN POINT — A not-so-subtle trail of clues led to a man's arrest in a Merrillville grocery store burglary.

Police learned of a burglary Sunday morning at Supermercado Mi Poblanito, 7895 Taft St., in Merrillville, according to court records.

The burglar stole a cash register and safe, records state, but the items were found in a 1996 Chevy Blazer parked behind the business, records state.

The back door of the grocery store was open and a ventilation system was damaged, leading detectives to suspect the burglar crawled in through the roof's duct work, records state. A cellphone was located on the roof.

The Chevy Blazer was registered to a Merrillville resident, who told police the vehicle was last in his son's possession, records state.

The son, Hector M. Chavez, was found by police asleep on his father's couch, his grease-stained clothes and shoes piled up next to him on the floor, records state.

The detectives asked the father for his son's phone number, and when it was dialed, the phone found on the store's roof rang, records state.

Chavez admitted to police he burgled the grocery store, but said he acted “under duress” and was “assisted by other unknown persons,” according to records.

Chavez was charged Tuesday in Lake Criminal Court with burglary, a level 5 felony.

Chavez is not afforded bond on the charge, records state.*

*Correction: A previous version of this story stated Chavez was in custody. He was arrested Dec. 17 in the burglary, but released from custody before charges were filed. He was jailed Jan. 3. 


Courts and social justice reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.