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Lake Station man charged in Portage robbery

Updated: January 30, 2014 6:55AM



VALPARAISO — A Lake Station man faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly robbing a Portage business owner at knifepoint, apparently for drug money.

Ryan Martin Sleziak, 32, has been charged with Class B felony robbery for the Nov. 24 incident at Quik-Step Outdoors on U.S. 20.

The owner told police he saw Sleziak across the street putting cardboard over the license plate of his SUV about 9:30 a.m., and when Sleziak disappeared behind the business, the owner checked the plate and noted it was for White County and handicapped designated, as well as making note of the numbers.

While returning to his business, he saw Sleziak come from behind, saying he was interested in buying an old pickup that wasn’t for sale.

While inside the business, Sleziak asked to buy bait, and while the owner’s back was turned, Sleziak went behind the counter and attacked him from behind.

Sleziak then threatened the owner with a crowbar and a fillet knife from the counter, taking $200.

Police found the phone box on the outside of the building tampered with.

Police were able to identify Sleziak from surveillance cameras from nearby gas stations and from his previous convictions.

The owner believes that Sleziak may have been the person who burglarized the business recently because of similar methods of operation.

Sleziak wasn’t listed as a Porter County Jail inmate Friday afternoon.



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