The other half of a couple who Chesterton Police said invited themselves
into an elderly woman’s home in August was arrested Thursday on a charge of
burglary, the CPD said.
Donald Howard Peterson Jr., 51, of 265 W. Brown St., Apt. 2, in Valparaiso,
was booked into the Porter County Jail at 9:35 p.m.
His arrest on that charge followed by two days the arrest on the same charge
of Virginia L. Chiaro, 50, of Wanatah.
According to police, at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 3 an 81-year-old woman who resides in
the 500 block of South 15th Street was “startled awake to find uninvited
subjects in her living room looking at her.”
The woman recognized one of them—who police said was later identified as
Chiaro—as a member of a family which had formerly rented the house.
Chiaro told the elderly woman that she had wanted her boyfriend, identified
as Peterson, to see where she used to live, police said.
The elderly woman believed Chiaro and “proceeded to invite them into the
kitchen for coffee,” police said. “After a short conversation and a bathroom
break, the couple left the house. During the conversation, the male and
female asked (the elderly woman) if she lived alone. They also advised (her)
that ‘they were clean’ but she did not know what they meant.”
The next day, the elderly woman mentioned the incident to her children, who
immediately filed a report with the CPD. An officer dispatched to the scene
subsequently discovered that the front door was broken, apparently after
someone forcibly popped the lock with an unknown tool. Also broken: the
exterior porch light. Some weeks later, the elderly woman found that the
locking mechanism on a cabinet in the living room—where she keeps
valuables—had been rendered inoperable. Pry marks were later found on the
cabinet near the lock, police said.
In an interview on Aug. 8, Chiaro admitted being the woman on the night in
question and advised that Peterson had “forcibly pulled the front storm door
open” and then spent three to five minutes getting the main wood door open.
“Chiaro claimed that they had only planned on paying (the elderly woman) a
visit,” Det. Sgt. Chuck Rinker stated in his probable cause affidavit. “She
claimed only a visit, even though she admitted that (her boyfriend) forced
his way into the residence.”
Burglary is a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20 years.