PORTAGE | A Portage Township man and his girlfriend's 16-year-old son were arrested early Tuesday after police said they attempted to steal a church's air conditioning units.
Portage police received an alarm at the First United Methodist Church, 2637 McCool Road about 4:20 a.m. Tuesday.
An officer said when he arrived to the church, he went to the rear of the building where the air conditioning units are installed and saw Raymond Pittman, 36, of Portage Township, walking toward him. The officer said Pittman was wearing work gloves and sweating profusely. He reportedly told the officer he was just out for a walk.
The officer said he then looked over and saw an SUV with a large industrial air conditioning unit sticking out the rear and a teenage boy standing behind it.
The officer said when the boy began running away, he quickly handcuffed Pittman and began following the boy.
When he warned the boy to stop or he'd release his police dog, the officer said Pittman began yelling at the boy to stop or he'd be bitten.
Eventually, the officer caught up with the 16-year-old boy, who reportedly resisted the officer. Police said the boy was subdued with a closed-fist hit to his face by the officer.
Pittman reportedly told officers the boy was his girlfriend's son and they were attempting to steal air conditioning units.
Police said Pittman, who reportedly has several prior theft convictions, was arrested and taken to Porter County Jail. He faces charges for alleged theft, neglect of a dependant and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
The 16-year-old Valparaiso boy was arrested and taken to the Porter County Juvenile Detention Center. Police said he'll face a magistrate for alleged theft and resisting law enforcement.