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Second suspect in string of Winfield, Porter County robberies identified

HEBRON — Police on Thursday identified the second person arrested in connection with a string of robberies in suburban Lake and Porter counties as Stephen B. Miller.

Miller, 46, of Hebron, and Jeffrey J. Smar, 47, of Hebron, were charged Thursday in Lake Criminal Court with four counts of robbery in the stick-up Dec. 9 of La Posh Salon, 7853 E. 108th Ave., Winfield.

Smar is also charged in Porter Superior Court with the Dec. 1 robbery of the Smoke Shop in Hebron, the Dec. 7 robbery of The Designer's Club salon on Ind. 2 in Center Township and the Dec. 11 robbery of the Country Kitchen in Hebron.

The men are also suspected of robbing a Pizza Hut restaurant last weekend in Winfield.

Deputies from the Lake County Sheriff's Office were dispatched 4 p.m. Dec. 9 to La Posh Salon after receiving reports two armed men entered the salon and ordered the business owner to empty the cash register, court records state. 

The men took the store's cash and a customer's phone before fleeing in a white vehicle, records state. 

Smar was arrested Monday after police began surveillance on his home on County Road 600 West near Hebron. 

Miller was arrested the next day after a search of the home. 

During the search of Smar's home, police found a silver revolver wrapped in a rug; multiple tan jackets, as described in two of the robberies; and a black Purdue jacket, as described in the Smoke Shop robbery, records state.

One of the tan jackets had receipts from La Posh Salon in its pockets.

Both men admitted to participating in the salon robbery, according to records.

Smar told police he needed the money after he became indebted to drug dealers in South Chicago. He said they went to Chicago after the robbery and paid $200 toward the debt and purchased more heroin. 

Police developed Miller as a suspect in the Winfield robberies because of tips from the community. La Posh Salon released video and images from the robbery, which showed a second suspect.

Miller's surety bond in Lake Criminal Court is $80,000.

Smar is not afforded bond. 

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.