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Grinch who stole Christmas caught, charged

Mug shot Mitreski. | PhoProvided~Sun-Times Media

Mug shot of Mitreski. | Photo Provided~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 15, 2013 12:32PM



CROWN POINT — Kire Mitreski, 25, of Cedar Lake was charged by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office on Jan. 4 with 2 counts of theft, both class D felonies, for allegedly stealing packages from residents’ front porches.

He was arrested shortly after 1 a.m. that day when Crown Point police officer Bob Ballas saw a red Dodge Neon in the residential neighborhood he was patrolling. The car matched the description of one of two cars possibly involved in the thefts of UPS, Fed Ex and U.S. Post Office packages. The other vehicle that was used is allegedly the suspect’s own black Toyota Yaris.

Ballas stopped the car for a window tint violation. As he was talking to the driver he could see numerous packaged items lying in plain view covering the back seat of the car.

Had Officer Ballas found the Grinch who allegedly stole Christmas?

Additional charges were expected to be brought against Mitreski very soon. If the U.S. Post Office steps in to file charges, then this will also be registered in Federal Court. One package was delivered by the U.S. Post Office and therefore its theft is a federal crime.

Before being taken to the Lake County jail, Mitreski was at the Crown Point Police Department where Detective Norm Isaacs questioned him. Mitreski allegedly admitted to stealing the packages form homes in Crown Point, Cedar Lake, St. John and the surrounding unincorporated areas.

According to Crown Point Police Chief Pete Land, during a search of Mitreski’s home, more items that were reported as stolen were located. The stash on-hand included a laptop computer with a docking station and a variety of clothing.

In addition, jewelry was found in the suspect’s vehicle. A Columbia coat with a Purdue University emblem that had been sent by U. S. Mail was one of the items that had been reported as stolen. Mitreski had allegedly given this jacket to his fiancée as a Christmas present. The fiancée was not involved in the thefts and she had no idea about the alleged illegal activities by her fiancée, according to police.

Mitreski admitted that he pawned dozens of pieces of stolen property at area pawn shops, according to police. The computer was located at a Merrillville store where the suspect had pawned it with his own name and ID Dec. 11.

“The apprehension of this suspect was the result of very good police work by Officer Ballas and Detective Isaacs. They were aware of all of the reported information, including the specific types of property reported to have been stolen, and following up throughout the night to retrieve as much of the property as possible at this point,” Land said.

Detective Larry Scott also worked the case.



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