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CROWN POINT — A 34-year-old man allegedly fled police after stealing bleachers from an East Chicago athletic field, eventually crashing his vehicle into a utility pole and causing 1,000 homes to lose power.

A police officer was on patrol near midnight Tuesday when he heard steel banging and a male voice in the 4400 block of Parrish Avenue.

He went to the southwest side of E.J. Block Stadium and found a black Ford Escape occupied by a couple parked next to several disassembled aluminum bleachers. The male driver fled the scene north on Parrish Avenue, but crashed the vehicle into a utility pole in the 2300 block Parrish Avenue.

The driver was captured after a foot pursuit and identified as Anthony L. Williams Jr. The passenger identified herself as Williams' wife.

NIPSCO told authorities the downed utility pole caused approximately 1,000 homes to lose power. A city official said the bleachers found in Williams' vehicle were worth more than $1,900.

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Williams, of East Chicago, was convicted of burglary, two counts of robbery and confinement in 2004 in Vandenburgh County. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crimes.

He received an additional 10-year sentence after pleaded guilty to robbery in 2011 in Lake County. Williams was released on parole for that offense in March, prison records state.

Williams was charged Thursday in Lake Criminal Court with two counts of theft and resisting law enforcement, all felonies. 

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.