CHESTERTON — A 45-year-old Porter Township man reportedly led police on a high speed chase into LaPorte County early Saturday after being stopped in the wake of gas station burglary that was similar to other break-ins throughout the region.

A Porter police officer, who was responding to an alarm at 2:30 a.m. Saturday at the Speedway gas station at 752 Indian Boundary Road, said he stopped Michael Vysinka after his vehicle turned north from Indian Boundary Road to Ind. 49.

The officer said he recognized Vysinka as a former inmate at Porter County Jail.

"I asked him, 'Do you have a bag full of stolen Newport cigarette packs in the car?' " according to the police report. "He replied, 'No.' To which I stated, 'Then you don't have anything to worry about.' "

But after walking back to his police car, the officer said Vysinka sped away and turned east onto Interstate 94 and drove at speeds up to 100 mph. He then exited the highway at U.S. 421 in Michigan City and led officers on a chase that wound around near the Walmart store.

Despite having his front passenger side tire deflated by police, Vysinka was not stopped until his vehicle was disabled after hitting a curb, police said. He then took off on foot before being apprehended by the Porter police officer.

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While Vysinka told officers the burglary was carried out by an associate, officers said they found a garbage bag full of Newport cigarettes in his vehicle. The surveillance video at the store also showed Vysinka inside.

Police said there have been multiple gas station burglaries in the past several weeks throughout Porter and Lake counties, and nearly all involved the theft of a large quantity of Newport cigarettes.

Vysinka was taken into custody on a preliminary felony count of resisting law enforcement with a vehicle in a way that creates substantial bodily risk to others, and a misdemeanor count of fleeing on foot, police said.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.