PORTER TOWNSHIP | A Lake Eliza man was arrested after authorities accused him of stealing another man's snakes and threatening to kill the man whose snakes he just stole.
Sidney Waltz, 19, of 22 S. Lourdes St., was arrested Saturday on initials charges of felony theft and intimidation. He faces up to six years behind bars if convicted.
Police said Waltz stole two snakes and about seven snake eggs worth a total of $7,400. The snakes and eggs, which belong to Valparaiso resident Kirk Leaton, were stolen while being kept at Debra Silvert's home on Timber Drive in Porter Township.
Leaton said one of the snakes was a six-foot tan and charcoal red male Colombian boa constrictor. The other was a 3 1/2-foot tan and black female Hog Island that had just produced seven or eight eggs.
Police said Waltz denied stealing the snakes, but two people reported seeing a snake matching the description of one of the stolen snakes in his car. A third witness admitted acting as a distraction so Waltz could steal the snakes.
Police said Waltz then admitted he stole the snakes and gave them to a person in Chicago Heights. Police said they looked at Waltz's cellular phone and located an e-mail inquiring about snakes Waltz was selling on Craigslist.
Waltz told police he stole the snakes because he thought Leaton had obtained them through theft -- even though Leaton let Waltz talk to the previous owner to confirm they weren't stolen. Police said Waltz also stated he stole them because Leaton promised him one, but never gave him one.
Police said Waltz also admitted to looking for a fight with Leaton. Police said Waltz had broom handles, a club and a baseball bat in his car.
Leaton told police he was going to gave a snake to Waltz, but not until it had all its babies.
Police said the theft occurred about noon Saturday, then Waltz returned Saturday night and threatened Leaton.