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Man facing charges after armed confrontation with NWI homeowner

harles Appleberry | LaPorte County Sheriff's Dept.

An armed burglar interrupted by an armed homeowner outside a home in northwest Indiana last week was captured by police several hours later and may be responsible for as many as 100 unsolved crimes, police said.

About 12:40 a.m. Oct. 13, LaPorte County sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in the 7500 West block of County Road 900 South in unincorporated Clinton Township for a report of an attempted burglary.

The 52-year-old homeowner told police someone with a flashlight was outside, so he got a rifle before seeing the suspect go into a pole barn, the sheriff’s office said.

He “found the suspect inside and a physical confrontation followed,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said. “During the physical confrontation the suspect produced a handgun which the homeowner was able to wrestle away. When the homeowner attempted to use his phone to call 911, the suspect fled the barn. The homeowner did fire his rifle once in the air as the suspect fled.”

The homeowner suffered cuts and scratches to his arms.

Officers from several jurisdictions responded, set up a perimeter and searched for the suspect, including K-9 teams from Porter and LaPorte counties. The dogs tracked the suspect for about two miles before losing the trail, police said.

Several hours later, about 9:30 a.m., a resident who lived about a mile north of the initial incident called police to report a person matching the description of the suspect. Deputies responded and spotted the suspect in a field near the 6600 South block of CR 800 West.

“The suspect attempted to flee but was tackled and taken into custody,” police said. He was found to be in possession of firearms, and had been carrying a firearm when confronted by the homeowner.

The suspect, 26-year-old Charles Appleberry, has been charged with burglary and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon, police said Tuesday.

Appleberry “is believed to be connected to approximately 100 thefts and burglaries over the course of the past six months throughout La Porte County,” police said.

He is being held in the LaPorte County jail on a $50,000 bond.

A deputy walks a burglary suspect into the entrance of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s detective bureau following a manhunt in a rural area south of Westville on Oct. 13. | LaPorte County Sheriff’s Dept.
A deputy walks a burglary suspect into the entrance of the LaPorte County Sheriff’s detective bureau following a manhunt in a rural area south of Westville on Oct. 13. | LaPorte County Sheriff’s Dept.