A man crashed his car into a house after a police chase when he allegedly stole an assortment of candy bars worth $300 from a gas station, according to the St. Joseph County Police Department.
On Sunday afternoon, 54-year-old Alan Nick is accused of making off with the candy from the US 31 Tobacco Store & Gas Station on State Road 933. The clerk at the station claims Nick assaulted him. The suspect eventually crashed into a house on the 51900 block of Hollyhock Road.
Police placed NIck in custody and he was taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Several people were home at the time of the crash, but none of them were injured.
According to St. Joseph County police, a county unit and a Roseland officer followed Nick and turned on their lights and sirens when speeds were at about 30 mph, but the St. Joseph County supervisor terminated the chase when speeds hit 50 mph.
"Our guys followed our policy to the letter," said Lt. Matt Blank, Public Information Officer for SJCPD. "The supervisor felt it wasn't worth it given that it was just about candy bars."
The gas station where the theft occurred is in St. Joseph County just south of the state line.
"...Our guys, our one unit in pursuit, pulled to the side of the road and stopped. The Roseland unit continued to follow the vehicle," said Blank. "...It is not uncommon for small towns to respond and help us from time to time, but we don't have the ability to tell them what to do. They are subject to their own policies and procedures."
Blank says the Roseland officer would have heard the command for county officers to stand down that was issued by the county supervisor.
When asked for comments, Roseland Police Chief Aaron Catanzarite says he still needs to talk to his officer. But he says this case is about more than just candy bars..He says in addition to the gas station clerk allegedly being assaulted, he says the suspect backed into one of the gas pumps while trying to make his getaway. On top of that, Catanzarite says when Nick didn't stop for officers, at that point another crime had been committed.
Lt. Blank says the suspect, Alan Nick, has a history with police. WSBT found court records indicating Nick pleaded guilty last year to a charge of conversion which typically means theft. We are still waiting to hear what charges may be filed as a result of what happened today.