VALPARAISO — A 27-year-old Michigan man on Thursday morning was at the Porter County Courthouse to plead guilty to breaking into the building more than a year ago and causing an estimated $12,000 in damages.
Kristopher Newcomb, of Battle Creek, pleaded guilty to a felony count of burglary and misdemeanor criminal mischief in return for prosecutors dropping a misdemeanor theft charge and agreeing to allow the sentences for the two offenses to run concurrent rather than one after another, according to court documents.
The felony count carries a sentence of between one to six years behind bars.
Newcomb broke into the five-story building in downtown Valparaiso on July 19 or 20, 2016, through a ground-level boiler room window on the south side of the structure, police said. The break-in occurred sometime between the last person leaving the building at 10 p.m. July 19 and an employee of the adult probation department arriving shortly before 5:45 a.m. July 20 to discover Newcomb sleeping on the courthouse floor.
Much of the damage was focused on the upper floors of the building at 16 Lincolnway.
Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper said at the time while her third-floor office and courtroom were protected by heavy doors, the staff offices sustained damaged furniture and equipment. Paperwork from as many as 40 to 50 primarily civil case files also was scattered around the room, tainted further with blood stains and shards of glass from the door window.
Newcomb also broke the glass on the door to the county prosecutor's victims assistance unit, and damaged a laptop computer and printer, officials said at the time. A chair was found lodged in what had been a window of the door leading to Magistrate Court 2. Vending machines were damaged, some inactive wiring for the building's heating and air conditioning unit were pulled out, and blood was found smeared on walls.
The proposed plea agreement, which was taken under consideration until Nov. 2, calls for a restitution amount to be determined. Figures totaling nearly $6,000 are written on the agreement.