LAPORTE — Several overnight thefts outside LaPorte could be the work of a masked individual confronted by a homeowner who fired a warning shot into the air, police said.

Jim Lestinsky said he found the suspect inside his attached garage after hearing his security alarm go off. 

The intruder, who claimed to have a gun, quickly fled, Lestinsky said.

"He yelled something as he left and ran," said Lestinsky, an auctioneer raising several head of cattle and sheep on his farm.

About 1 a.m. Monday, officers responded to the 4500 block of North Range Road near the Indiana Toll Road.

After the encounter, Lestinsky said, he and his 21-year-old son, Travis, who also grabbed a gun, went after the man wearing a ski mask but were not able to locate him.

"I told my son to wake up and grab his gun. It was pretty traumatic," Lestinsky said.

Apparently, the suspect rode there on a bicycle that he left in his haste to get off the property, Lestinsky said.

Detectives were still working to try and identify the man, police said.

Lestinsky said only gift cards to a local restaurant were taken from his daughter's car.

LaPorte County Police Capt. Mike Kellems said the same person could be responsible for several other thefts in that area during the night.

"We suspect they are related, and we're continuing to follow up on those leads as well," Kellems said.

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