Chesterton Tribune


Man charged in Portage robberies

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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 stated.

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 suspended.


Posted 3/26/2013