Employees of both
Flying Mermaids and Aspen & Ash--in adjacent suites in the commercial
building at 206 S. Calumet Road--were victims of theft on Wednesday, Sept.
11, in a distract-and-pilfer scam perpetrated by a pair of women, Chesterton
Those women were
also observed entering a number of shops along Broadway the same day,
probably casing the joints, police said.
police, shortly before 12 p.m. the suspects entered Flying Mermaids and were
“immediately ‘chatty,’” indicating that they were shopping for a wedding
gift and dresses. “They had a lot of questions about sizes,” the employee
advised police, and at some point one of the suspects made an inquiry about
merchandise at the east end of the store, asking the employee to accompany
The employee did,
while the other suspect remained browsing near the cash register, where the
employee typically leaves her purse.
The two suspects
then left the store without buying anything, and--feeling that “something
wasn’t quite right”--the employee checked her purse and discovered her
wallet was gone. Later in the day an attempt was made to use one of her
credit cards at the Walmart in Portage but the transaction was declined,
possibly because of the high dollar amount, police said: $900.
Then, after leaving
Flying Mermaids, the two entered Aspen & Ash, where they pulled the same
job: “As soon as they entered they were conversational and started asking
questions about buying a gift for an upcoming wedding,” police said. “She
said the ladies were picking up many items and were overwhelming her with
Once again, one of
the two suspects “went to the back of the store and inquired on a price,”
while the other remained near the counter. “The ladies looked around for
another moment or so, then left the store without purchasing anything.”
At that point the
Aspen & Ash employee received a call from the Flying Mermaids employee, and
was told to check her purse. She did, and found her driver’s license and
three bank cards missing from her wallet. About 20 minutes later, she
received a text from her bank asking whether an $815.89 purchase on her
account at the Portage Walmart was legitimate. “By the time she replied, the
debit was already posted,” police said. “She is working with (the bank’s)
fraud division to have that charge reversed.”
transactions were declined: one in the amount of $904.38, the other in the
amount of $815.89.
The suspects were
described as black females, in their thirties, both heavy set with short
hair, police said. One was wearing a bright orange dress and the other a
reports of the back-to-back thefts, a CPD officer canvassed the Downtown
business district, warning shopkeepers about the scam. “That officer said
that the proprietors of Chelle’s, The Flower Cart, (O’Gara and Wilson’s)
book store, and Spike & Buddy’s all saw them,” police said. “In all four of
those stores, the ladies walked in and pretty much walked right out. They
only conversed with the owner of Chelle’s and that was limited to something
like, ‘You don’t seem to have anything in our size.”
“It is possible
they were quickly sizing things up to see if they might be able to run their
scam and left if they didn’t see an easy ‘mark,’ police said.
The Burns Harbor
Town Council approved two new plans to keep track of municipal spending at
its meeting Wednesday: an asset management policy and a vendor audit policy.
Council member Toni
Biancardi reported she and Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan worked together to
form the two policies.
Biancardi said each
Department will create a list of assets worth more than $5,000, with a
provided template, that tells the name of the asset, its value, and its
category. Twice a year department heads will have the chance to add or
remove items from the list. Down the line, Departments will be asked to
estimate end-of-life for each asset so the Town can better plan for
replacing big ticket items.
The new vendor
audit policy dictates that the Town keep a list of approved vendors that
have done work in Burns Harbor before, and all Departments should use a
pre-approved vendor whenever possible. New vendors must be approved by the
Town Council. Vendors not used for two years will fall off the list. From
the list, a preferred vendor will be chosen among approved vendors who
provide the same service.
Burns Harbor will
participate in a regional Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census
because it’s estimated that only 80 percent of Burns Harbor residents were
counted in 2010.
The Committee will
focus on educating residents on the importance of the Census and the
benefits of being counted. Jordan said the Town misses out on approximately
$8,000 in federal funding for every person who goes uncounted in the Census.
Children are likely one of the most missed groups, due to confusion about
where they should be counted if they spend time in separate homes.
signs that went up Sept. 6 or later are out legally, per a State law that
changed only a couple years ago. Jordan reported Burns Harbor Town Code has
not been updated to reflect the law that allows campaign signs to be
displayed beginning 60 days before an election.
Town Code only
allows the signage to go up 30 days prior to an election, but State law
supersedes it, according to Town Attorney Clay Patton. Signs must be taken
down within 10 days after the election.
Melton reported the
square turnaround at the end of the alley behind Burns Boulevard was
excavated and patched. The parking lot and roads at Lakeland Park were also
paved and striped.
that there have been a lot of complaints about North Babcock Road, which is
shared with Town of Porter. North Babcock is on Porter’s list of paving
projects for this year, and the Town will reach out to find out when it will
The beach at
Lakeland Park is now closed for the season. Fall Fest is coming up at
Lakeland from 5 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 5. Anyone interested in being a stop in
the Trunk-or-Treat can sign up on the Burns Harbor Park Department Facebook.
Residents are reminded that the Arts and Crafts building is still available
to rent year-round.
Nick Loving began the meeting with a moment of silence in recognition of the
anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Loving said the attacks were the
defining event of his generation, and though he’ll never forget how he felt
the day it happened, he’ll also never forget the resilience and togetherness
of Sept. 12, 2001.
No one spoke in a
public hearing for the 2020 budget. The Council approved budget
appropriation transfers for the Street, Park, Fire, and Building
approved on second reading an ordinance setting up guidelines for conflicts
of interest in the building department. The ordinance was required following
a change in state law.
No one spoke for or
against a $10,000 additional appropriation for the Stormwater Department.
Jordan said the reason for the additional is the Department taking on a
large project on the Old Porter Road lift station that they might need extra
money for. The Council approved it.
suspended its rules and conducted both a first and second reading in the
same night to pass an ordinance to amend the use of the Fire Non-reverting
Ambulance Fund so that fund can be used directly for the costs of Town
The Council passed
a proclamation for National Suicide Prevention Month. Council member Kevin
Tracy read the proclamation in its entirety and urged people to remember
that everyone is fighting their own battles and encouraged them to reach out
to others who may be struggling.