Ruse of construction equipment sale ends with robbery, police say
BY ERIN GUERRA Post-Tribune correspondent October 14, 2013 3:04PM
Updated: November 16, 2013 6:11AM
VALPARAISO — A new acquaintance told a 61-year-old Hobart man he’d help him buy a piece of equipment for work, then robbed him of the $5,000 cash he’d brought with to pay for it.
The victim, who owns a roofing business, told police he met the culprit about 10 days before at the Tilted Kilt in Merrillville. The man said he knew someone who was selling a Bobcat and could take him to see it, later texting him a photo of the small construction vehicle.
The man picked up the victim at about noon Saturday at his job site and drove him to a house in Valparaiso, although the victim wasn’t sure where, to look at the Bobcat. The victim wanted to think about whether to make the purchase, so the man took him back to work.
Later, the victim called the acquaintance and had him pick him up at his Hobart home at about 6 p.m. to take him to buy the Bobcat. Just into Porter County on U.S. 30, the driver said he had to urinate, pulled over and got out of the vehicle. He then came back with a black semi-automatic handgun, ordered the victim to put the cash and his jewelry and cell phone on the driver’s seat, then to get out of the car. He drove off to the east, and the victim ran to a house in the 600 west block of U.S. 30 and had the homeowner call 911.
The robber was described as being in his mid-40s, about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 170 pounds. He had short brown hair and tattoos on his right arm. He spoke clear English and broken Spanish, and reportedly said he worked at U.S. Steel. He was driving a white, newer-model four-door car. The victim was not able to provide police with the man’s phone number because it was stored in his phone, which the man had taken.