A Portage resident was arrested Wednesday on charges of arson and burglary
after Portage Police said that he was seen removing items from a computer
store just before the business began to burn.
Booked into the Porter County Jail on those charges was John M. McKee, 26,
of 5746 Mulberry Ave.
According to police, at 7:44 a.m. firefighters and officers were dispatched
to B&R Computers at 2588 Portage Mall in response to a report of heavy smoke
coming from the business’ broken basement window.
Officers at the scene subsequently began receiving reports of a suspicious
male subject seen “pushing a shopping cart loaded with computer equipment”
away from the building “just prior” to the appearance of smoke.
Officers then located McKee—his hands and hair “singed”—in the area of
Willowcreek Road and Lexington Ave. in possession of a shopping cart full of
electronic gear, police said.
McKee advised that “he took the electronic equipment from the building at
the request of the business owner for safe keeping because of the fire,”
After further questioning by detectives, McKee was charged with arson and
Arson is a Class B felony punishable by six to 20 years; burglary, a Class C
felony punishable by a term of two to eight years.