A man suspected of three armed robberies in Portage in two days last week
has been taken into custody.
William R. Evans, 26, with a listed address of 842 E. 28th Ave. in Portage,
was booked into the Porter County Jail on Friday on three counts of robbery,
a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20 years.
Evans is suspected of robbing at gunpoint the Speedway at 5011 Central Ave.
on March 20 and the Zip Foods at 5757 U.S. Highway 6 and the Comfort Inn at
2300 Willowcreek Road on Friday.
According to the probable cause affidavit filed by Det. Joe Mokol of the
Portage Police Department, “within hours” of releasing a surveillance photo
of the suspect in the Speedway job, the PPD began receiving tips about the
suspect’s possible identity. One of those tips identified Evans and
indicated that he was possibly driving a newer silver Volkswagen station
wagon, resembling a silver station wagon shown in surveillance footage,
Mokol stated in his affidavit.
At 4 p.m. Friday—less than 12 hours after the Comfort Inn was robbed—that
vehicle was observed by a Portage officer leaving the Burger King parking
lot at Central Ave. and Willowcreek Road. That officer lost sight of it
after the driver “fled at a high rate of speed” but the vehicle was
subsequently re-located and stopped in front of the Zip Foods at 5757 U.S.
20, with Evans behind the wheel, Mokol stated.
Recovered from the vehicle was a black Phantom BB gun which “matches the
description of the gun described by all three robbery victims,” Mokol
Evans “admitted that the BB gun we found in the car was his for protection,”
Mokol stated. “When I asked how a BB gun would protect him, he stated that
people would think it was real.”
Also found in Evans’ vehicle: seven plastic Ziplock baggies containing
heroin and three hypodermic needles, police said.
Evans was additionally charged with possession of a controlled substance,
possession of a syringe, maintaining a common nuisance, and driving while