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Law and Order: Man accused of dragging Portage woman alongside vehicle

Updated: April 23, 2014 6:08AM



VALPARAISO

Woman dragged by vehicle

A Jackson Township man accused of dragging a Portage woman 105 feet with his vehicle faces four felonies.

Alan Matthew Hart, 31, allegedly came to the woman’s home to sell her a computer tablet for $50 on Dec. 18, a price they’d agreed upon Dec. 15 at his home, although he said he left the power cord at home after she paid.

Hart began rummaging through the vehicle’s console when he suddenly grabbed the tablet as she leaned on the window and drove off, but her arm became lodged between the window and rear view mirror.

At the hospital, cartilage was visible through her leg wound, and a doctor said she would likely need surgery for ligament damage.

Hart faces up eight years in prison on a Class C felony battery charge and up three years in prison on each of three Class D felonies: theft, criminal recklessness and failure to stop after an accident, and bail bond was set at $3,500.

Wanted in morphine sale

Two morphine stings from late summer and early fall have resulted in charges in March.

Tracey Lynn Rambo, 40, of Lake Station and Matthew Shane Semernezski, 30, of Jackson Township have each been charged with two counts of Class B felony dealing in a Schedule I, II or III controlled substance, and each count carries a sentence of up to 20 years.

Rambo allegedly sold four morphine pills to a Porter County Drug Task Force informant for $40 on Sept. 24 and another eight pills for $80 on Oct. 29.

Semernezski allegedly sold 10 pills for $100 on Aug. 9 and 12 pills for $180 on Aug. 14.

Semernezski’s bail bond is set at $7,500, while Rambo’s is set at $25,000, and arrest warrants have been issued for both of them.

Man admits to tax fraud

A Valparaiso man who cashed a $16,124 tax refund check he suspected was stolen — and kept $1,612 for himself — won’t serve prison time if Porter County Superior Judge Mary Harper accepts his Thursday plea.

Karam Awawda, 27, will get a two-year sentence of time served, 30 days on formal probation and 30 days community service for his plea to Class D felony receiving stolen property.

His sentencing is May 13

Awawda accepted the check from Dimitrius Schirato, 23, of Valparaiso in April 2010 when Schirato brought it into the old Clark Station on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso where Awawda was behind the counter.

The check was already made out “pay to the order of Clark” with a rubber stamp of the owner’s signature.

Although he said he gave Schirato his share three days later, police found he removed $15,000 from his business account and deposited it in his personal account.

The check had been stolen from a Valparaiso home along with blank checks, and Schirato received a four-year sentence on October for pleading guilty to Class C felony forgery on Oct. 1.

Caitlin Stephanie Nicholson, 26, of Crown Point received a year on probation last year for her plea to misdemeanor retaining stolen property for helping cash some of the blank checks.

James D. Wolf Jr.



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