VALPARIASO | A Hebron area man has been charged in connection with a home burglary that sparked a search this week by Porter County police on the ground and Lake County police in the air.
Michael Petitto, 22, of 343 S. County Road 600 West, is charged with burglary and theft, both felonies. He also is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, which is a misdemeanor.
He is accused of breaking into a home on March 28 and attempting to take a television, laptop computer, drill and leaf blower.
A resident of the 10 block of County Road 600 West called police at 7:47 a.m. Friday reporting he had just returned home from work to find his home had been burglarized.
He reported a silver Toyota Corolla was parked in his driveway and some of his property was inside the car, but he did not know who owned the car. No one was in the house.
Court documents state police found fresh pry marks around a front window and a muddy footprints in the backyard leading away from the house.
Porter County authorities, assisted by Hebron police and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department helicopter, searched the area for about 90 minutes but did not find a suspect.
Detectives contacted the owner of the car, Tammy Duncan, of Hebron, who said Petitto, her son, had the car, but told her the car was stolen. Duncan told police he was supposed to go to a friend's house to help someone move.
Petitto told police, however, that he went to Patz's grocery store in Hebron, where he purchased a turkey sandwich and a Mountain Dew. He told police his car was stolen and so he walked home.
Police said Petitto had gone to a friend's home briefly, but did not talk to the friend.
Police said employees at Patz's told police they had not seen Petitto Friday morning and confirmed no one had purchased a turkey sandwich and Mountain Dew.
Police on Thursday obtained a search warrant for Duncan's car and recovered the items reported missing from the home on 600 West, along with drug paraphernalia.
Petitto was arrested March 28 on an unrelated warrant. He was charged Thursday with the the March 28 break-in and theft.