Suspected thieves steal three vehicles but are foiled by a citizen noticing suspicious activity

Quick thinking by the Indiana State Police helped catch suspected vehicle thieves after a citizen noticed suspicious activity at T&T repairables Wednesday morning in Whitehall west of Bloomington in Monroe County, Indiana.

The Indiana State Police sent the following press release Thursday:

1500 N. Packinghouse Road, #200
Sergeant Kevin Getz
Public Information Officer
812-332-4411 [email protected] March 23, 2023  
  CITIZEN REPORT AND MULTI AGENCY RESPONSE RESULTS IN ARRESTS AND RECOVERY OF STOLEN VEHICLES   On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at approximately 9:30 am, Sgt. Ian Portteus was at the Bloomington State Police Post doing paperwork when he overheard radio traffic from the Owen County Sheriff’s Department regarding a possible theft of three vehicles from T&T Repairables near Whitehall, in southeastern Owen County. Law enforcement response originated after a concerned citizen called the Sheriff’s Department Communication Center and reported suspicious activity leaving the area of the business.    Sgt. Portteus responded and radioed Trooper Jeremy Cox who was on duty in nearby western Monroe County about the call. Sgt. Portteus continued to monitor both radio channels and relay information to Troopers and Dispatchers with the Indiana State Police while traveling towards the location. He continued his attempts at locating the vehicles based on limited and conflicting descriptions of two to three of the missing vehicles. A fourth vehicle was believed to be used by the suspects to arrive at the business. F/Sgt. Michael Wood, who was conducting Post Command duties, located pictures of two of the vehicles on the T&T Repairables website and forwarded those pictures to all Troopers assigned to the district in an attempt to quickly locate the suspects and vehicles. The concerned citizen again called into dispatch and advised that one of the vehicles, a 2016 black Ford F-350 truck was now northbound on I-69 from Third Street in Bloomington. Troopers Kent Rohlfing, Mike Clephane, Doug Perry, and Matt Fleener responded by traveling to I-69 in Morgan County in order to locate the vehicle. At approximately 10:00 am Troopers Clephane, Rohlfing, and Fleener located the vehicle in Morgan County and followed it as it exited I-69 at SR 144 in Johnson County. The troopers conducted a high-risk traffic stop with the assistance of Deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department.  That traffic stop resulted in the arrest of two male suspects, Jerry W. Poindexter, and Travis L. Stephens. The truck was confirmed to be stolen when F/Sgt. Wood radioed to the Troopers on the traffic stop information gathered from the pictures that included the Idaho license plate and a picture of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).   Trooper Cox and Owen County Deputies Charlie Hallam, Cory Poland, and Chief Deputy Matt Miller were able to locate a second vehicle, a silver 2020 Ram 1500 Truck, near the intersection of SR 43 and Porter Ridge Road in Owen County after thieves abandoned the vehicle as its emergency brake system remained engaged.   Deputies with the Owen County Sheriff’s Department obtained description for a third stolen vehicle, a green 2019 Chevy Silverado. With the help of the vehicle’s computer system and GPS, Officers located the green Silverado at a business parking lot on west Third Street near I-69 in Bloomington. Deputies utilized the vehicle’s computer system to disable the vehicle from further operation. ISP Sgt. Eric Russell, Crime Scene Investigator, and Trooper Cox arrived at the location in Bloomington and processed the truck for evidence.  A fourth vehicle that was allegedly stolen from T&T Repairables by the Stephens suspect on March 9, 2023, was also located and recovered in Indianapolis. All four vehicles were returned to T&T Repairables and two suspects were arrested. The following were transported to the Morgan County Jail, Jerry W. Poindexter, 46-Years-Old, Indianapolis One Count of Vehicle Theft, Level 5 Felony One Count of Possession of Stolen Property, Level 6 Felony One County of Driving While Suspended, Class A Misdemeanor Travis L. Stephens, 46-Year-Old, Transient – No Current Address One Count of Vehicle Theft, Level 5 Felony One Count of Possession of Stolen Property, Level 6 Felony Active Warrant for Auto Theft from Owen County Active Warrant for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Case information will be reviewed by Prosecutors from Owen, Monroe, Morgan, and Johnson County to determine if further charges will be filed. This investigation remains open as Troopers attempt to identify and locate two others who assisted with today’s crimes. When asked about the investigation, Lt. Paul Bucher, Commander of the Indiana State Police Bloomington District stated, “I commend the teamwork and cooperation between several agencies to quickly work together, communicate vital information and locate and recover the suspects and property.” An arrest photo may be obtained from the Morgan County Jail. All criminal defendants are to be presumed innocent until, and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. -30- GETZ

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