A Liberty Township resident was booked into the Porter County Jail on
Tuesday on charges of theft, fraud, and two counts of forgery, the Porter
County Sheriff’s Police said.
Alana Rae Zinnel, 47, of 159 Cattail Lane, was arrested on those charges at
1:34 p.m. by Chesterton Police.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Sgt. Charles Rinker,
on May 21 a 5/3 Bank customer reported the theft of her debit card and
multiple fraudulent purchases charged to her account: $462.93 at the
Chesterton Kmart, then another $21.39 at Kmart, $42.93 at a Chesterton
Marathon, then another $44.82 at the Marathon.
The victim advised that she believed her debit card to have been taken on
May 18 from the ATM at the 5/3 branch in Chesterton, when she’d used the
machine, then driven off after the ATM failed immediately to release her
Rinker stated in his affidavit that a surveillance tape of the ATM
transaction shows a woman in a red PT Cruiser with a Hoosier Veteran license
plate immediately behind the victim in line at the ATM. That woman pulls up
to the machine and “can be seen removing something” from it, Rinker stated.
On Tuesday, a red PT Cruiser with a Hoosier Veteran license plate was
observed at the 5/3 bank and Rinker stated that he subsequently located the
driver, identified as Zinnel.
In an interview Zinnel admitted taking the debit card, using it to buy over
$600 in merchandise from the Kmart—and applying the purchase to her own
Kmart rewards account—using the card as well to buy gasoline and cigarettes
at the Marathon, and signing the victim’s name on the receipt in all cases,
Forgery is a Class C felony punishable by a term of two to eight years;
theft and fraud, Class D felonies punishable by a term of six months to