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Stolen state trooper jacket, badge among items found in stolen vehicle after chase, police say
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Stolen state trooper jacket, badge among items found in stolen vehicle after chase, police say

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HAMMOND — After a pursuit that began in Winfield, authorities recovered a trove of items in the fleeing stolen vehicle, including a stolen Illinois State Police jacket and badge along with a hoard of items that are suspected to be from thefts spanning two states, police said.

At 1:30 a.m. Saturday, police were called to the 12400 Block of Tippecanoe Street in Winfield after witnesses reported there were suspicious men breaking into vehicles, said Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr.

Lake County Sheriff’s officers responded and located the suspects’ vehicle, a silver 2014 Lexus. However, once police tried to stop the vehicle, it drove off.

Police pursued the Lexus, which drove through Crown Point, Merrillville, Hobart, Gary and Hammond. As the chase continued, authorities learned the car was reported as stolen out of Oswego, Illinois, Martinez said.

Using a rolling road block on Interstate 80/94 and Kennedy Avenue, police brought the chase to an end.

Four people inside the Lexus then jumped out and began to run away, but three were caught by police. Officers arrested two men and a woman at the scene, and one of the officers suffered a hand injury during the arrest, Martinez said. The officer was treated at an area hospital and released.

Officers recovered a stolen handgun from one of the suspects. Inside the vehicle was an Illinois State Police jacket and a badge that were stolen on April 14, Martinez said. A bulletproof vest, several stolen electronics, ID cards, passports and credit cards were also found in the vehicle.

“Detectives have identified and contacted several victims as a result of the recovered property spanning two states,” Martinez said, “and detectives are continuing to identify victims and plan to contact more victims as the investigation progresses.”

Police are presenting charges to the Lake County prosecutor’s office, including possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a stolen handgun with obliterated serial numbers, theft, possession of stolen property, fleeing law enforcement utilizing a vehicle and on foot, resisting law enforcement and battery on law enforcement with injury.

All three suspects are being held at the Lake County Jail.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and expertise our patrol officers utilized in bringing this pursuit to an end without harming members of the public,” Martinez said. “I am also very proud of our detectives and the dedication and professionalism they have shown during the investigation of this case.”

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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