Porter County Law and Order
March 21, 2013 1:58PM
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:09PM
Man charged with
theft from grandpa
A business suit-wearing man showing a military identification allegedly cashed five checks, in increasingly larger amounts, from the account of his grandfather with the same name.
The 77-year-old victim, who was stuck at home with a broken hip, notified First Source Bank of the fraud Wednesday when he looked at his bank account balance online.
Vincent Mercaldo III, 26, who lives on and off at the victim’s home southwest of Valparaiso, reportedly had stolen more than $7,000 from his account since March 7. The first unauthorized check was for $300, leading up to the fifth at $2,520.
Following a tip from another relative, police arrested Mercaldo at about 8 p.m. Wednesday at TGI Fridays, on felony charges of forgery and theft. Mercaldo had 28, $100 bills on him at the time of his arrest, police said.
Passer-by reported battery to juvenile
A driver on northbound Indiana 49 called police after witnessing another driver punch a young female in the face. The witness pulled alongside the passenger side and mouthed, “Are you OK?” and the girl, crying, said no, according to the police report. The witness then followed the black 2013 Ford Fusion until police arrived and stopped it, at about 6:20 p.m. Wednesday near U.S. 20.
Frank Pepin, 35, of rural Valparaiso, told police he was returning the 14-year-old relative to her mother’s house in Porter. He allegedly admitted hitting the girl several times, according to the police report, “because he just does not know what to do with her.” The first three or four slaps were to her arm, he said, because she was looking out the window instead of at him when he was trying to talk to her. The teen said Pepin also pulled her hair and slammed her face into the console. Pepin was arrested for misdemeanor battery.
for man to drive
Police said they knew Harry Kuehl, 52, had been driving despite his license being suspended through 2019. So on Thursday afternoon an officer parked near Kuehl’s home, in the 200 block of Kristin Court, northwest of Valparaiso.
After Kuehl got into a vehicle and started down the street at about 5:40 p.m., according to the police report, he saw the squad car and put his vehicle into reverse, drove fast back into his driveway and ran for the front door of his house. The door was locked, though, so police arrested Kuehl in his front yard.
Kuehl was charged with felony operating of a vehicle as a habitual traffic violator. The vehicle Kuehl was driving was registered to his son, police said.