A North Judson man who hopes to become Starke County’s next sheriff faces a felony charge of impersonation of a public servant. The charge against Gregory R. Wireman, 38, stems from a Feb. 15 incident on CR 200 S. east of SR 39. Court documents indicate Wireman detained a woman and two men in a white van with a Michigan registration who were going door to door in the area claiming to be selling vacuum cleaners and other cleaning supplies. Wireman says several residents called 911 but officers were unable to respond, so his aunt, Donna Wheeler, phoned him for help. Wireman reportedly blocked the van in the driveway at the Wheeler’s home, took the three salespeople’s driver’s licenses and refused to let them leave. They claim Wireman told them he was a corrections officer but did not have his badge with him. Court documents indicate he admitted searching the two male salesmen prior to the arrival of Deputy James Upsall from the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. According to the incident report, Upsall turned the case over to Starke County Deputy Kelly Fisher due to a conflict of interest stemming from his plans to also run for sheriff. He also gave the salespeople the address of the Starke County Sheriff’s Office so they could file a formal complaint against Wireman.
Pulaski County Prosecutor Stacey Mrak was appointed special prosecutor in the case and filed a charge against Wireman in Starke Circuit Court on May 31. Pulaski Superior Court Judge Pat Blankenship will hear the case. He’s issued a summons for Wireman to appear in his court on Monday, July 22 at 10 a.m. EDT for an initial hearing. Wireman has hired an attorney from Chesterton and says he’s confident he will be exonerated once the matter gets to court. He adds one of his accusers has a larceny conviction from Michigan and notes the salespeople did not have the proper permits to be selling items door-to-door in Starke County in the first place.
“Once we get to a court and we can tell the entire story, that one, I’ll be found not guilty and exonerated of these charges but also maybe bring some light to the issues with this van and these vacuum cleaning salespeople, who were not even licensed to be in the community. They had no permit to sell door-to-door, and they were not even licensed to be here,” said Wireman.
Wireman adds there are two sides to everything, and says he’s looking forward to telling his side of the story. .
“I don’t want to be accusatory, and I would hope that that’s not the motivation with the sheriff’s office. I certainly would not see doing that myself. There’s two sides to every story, and how this investigation was handled and all that kind of stuff will come out down the road as the trial goes on and things go on, and we want to do that as quickly as possible. We want to get that done as quickly as possible and get this thing out of the way,” Wireman said.