Detective John Siple, 52, was honored last month for his investigation of real estate fraud in the town of Highland.
A 26-year veteran at the Highland Police Department, Siple was presented with an award by attorney Jonathan Petersen, who also was investigating the same defendant on fraud allegations.
“The company would advertise real estate for sale, usually as a foreclosure. The victims would see a sign on the roadside telling them to call a certain number and then would be directed to the property,” Siple said.
“The company would then close a deal and have them sign a contract and make a deposit, usually in the thousands of dollars range. The victims would never hear back from the company and never close on the property,” Siple added.
As a result of Siple’s actions, restitution in the amount of $5,000 was paid to victims and the defendant was charged with theft and deception, both Class D felonies in Indiana.
A 1979 Munster High School graduate, Siple attended Purdue University Calumet and received specialized training in cyber crimes and cellphone forensics.
He has assisted in many cases with local, state, and federal agencies, and is currently part of the Northwest Indiana Major Crimes Task Force and the Northwest Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.
“Trying to get cooperation with outside sources to gain information on current investigations can be a struggle, but I like problem solving and the opportunity to help others,” Siple said.
A St. John resident, Siple is a member of Bethel Church in Cedar Lake. He has owned a disc jockey service called Night Shift DJ Service for the past 27 years.
“I also enjoy playing the drums and have played with many local bands, including a police band called Signal 10 and the Suncrest Christian Church worship team,” he added.