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Hobart police arrest vet wanted on child sex charges in North Carolina
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Hobart police arrest vet wanted on child sex charges in North Carolina

HOBART — A military veteran, former police officer and graduate of Lake County’s Veterans Treatment Court who was wanted on an out-of-state warrant was arrested Tuesday night and is awaiting extradition to answer child sex-related charges, police said.

Carlos Villarreal, 36, was taken into custody at a home in the 200 block of Virginia Street, Hobart police Capt. James Gonzales said. Villarreal was taken to the Lake County Jail and is awaiting extradition to North Carolina where he has been charged with sexual offense on a child and indecency involving a child, according to police.

Hobart authorities were alerted to Villarreal’s presence in Lake County around 8 p.m. Tuesday by a detective in North Carolina, who said he had information that Villarreal was living at the Virginia Street address and added that neighbors saw Villarreal packing up a van earlier Tuesday.

Gonzales said officers decided to call in the Northwest Regional SWAT team to attempt to enter the residence after Villarreal did not come to the door when they arrived. Not long after SWAT was contacted, Villarreal surrendered to Hobart officers on the scene.

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Villarreal has a criminal history in Lake County, including an arrest in Hobart in 2014 after he allegedly pulled a loaded gun on a man during a road rage incident. A felony charge of pointing a firearm was dismissed in 2016 after Villarreal completed the Veterans Treatment Court program.

Two years after that, in 2018, Villarreal was accused of threatening to shoot his then girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend in Lakehurst, New Jersey, where police arrested him and charged him with multiple weapons offenses. Online court records do not indicate how that case against Villarreal was resolved.

A Carlos Villarreal with the same date of birth was also charged with child molestation, a felony, in Lake Criminal Court earlier this year. Villarreal was released in January after posting a $3,445 cash bond in that case, court records indicate.

Villarreal briefly worked for the Hammond Police Department before he was fired in September 2012 after less than a year on the job following an internal investigation.

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Andy is a staff writer with The Times covering public safety and breaking news. Contact him at andy.viano@nwi.com or 219-933-3250.

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