Michigan man charged in M'ville station break-in

2013-06-07T18:52:00Z 2013-06-07T22:21:37Z Michigan man charged in M'ville station break-inChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | A 58-year-old man accused of stealing cash register drawers from a Merrillville gas station allegedly was driving a stolen vehicle while attempting to evade police.

Claude Winford, of Battle Creek, Mich., was charged in Lake Criminal Court with burglary, theft and two counts of resisting law enforcement.

About 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, a burglary alarm was activated at a Speedway gas station at 98 W. 73rd Ave.

Through video surveillance, personnel from the Speedway Alarm Center could see what was occurring in the business. The personnel reported a male subject was possibly using a hammer to enter the front door of the gas station.

The person was seen taking two cash register drawers, which contained a total of about $200, court records show.

Merrillville police officer Allison Ellis reported she saw a 2011 Lincoln MKZ leaving an area near the gas station after police were advised of the situation. She stopped the car near 68th Place and Broadway.

Winford, who was driving the vehicle, told the officer he hadn't done anything wrong. Ellis indicated she saw what appeared to be cash register drawers in the back seat and told Winford to leave the car.

Ellis said Winford fled the area. Lake County police assisted Merrillville officers during a pursuit of the vehicle, court records state.

Winford is accused of driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. Police said he nearly struck a Merrillville squad car on 70th Avenue.

Court records state Winford drove through a yard in the 7000 block of Van Buren Lane. The car eventually stopped in a wooded area.

Merrillville and Lake County police arrested Winford following a foot pursuit.

Police discovered the Lincoln MKZ was reported stolen in Jackson, Mich. Cash register drawers from the Merrillville Speedway gas station were located in the back seat of the vehicle, court records state.

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