Two Arrested In Starke County For Residential Theft

Two North Judson men were arrested last week after allegedly stealing a desktop computer and printer from a residence in the West 9000 block of Toto Road. Police were called to the home around 3:35 p.m. where they spoke to the homeowner’s daughter, Sarah Luzadder, who said her mother was on vacation, but when they came to check on the residence that afternoon, they noticed a dark blue Honda hatchback car in the driveway.

She said that she saw two friends of her sister, Brandon Zachary and Jonathan Cortez, walk from behind the house toward the car, and they told her they had been looking for a lost cell phone. Shortly after they left, Luzadder said she noticed the door on the north side of the home was open and discovered the computer and printer missing.

Police went to Cortez’s residence on South 250 West and located the suspect vehicle. Cortez’s mother was home and told police that she had not seen or heard from her son that day, so police proceeded to Zachary’s house on South Range Road. There they found Zachary, who told them that Cortez was fishing behind his house and admitted that he had seen Cortez steal the computer, but said Cortez had thrown it in a ditch.

Police then spoke to Cortez who admitted to being at the victim’s residence, but said he was only looking for his cell phone. The pair was arrested and police took Cortez to locate the stolen items in a ditch on 875 West, south of 2150 South in LaPorte County. The officer saw the items submerged in nearly four feet of water, and requested assistance from the LaCrosse Fire Department to recover the items.

Cortez and Zachary were taken to the Starke County Jail while the case is reviewed by the prosecutor.