Police: Bank heist suspect hit liquor store, Smoke Shop

Terry West Jr.

WANATAH – A Michigan City man charged with robbing a bank in Wanatah on Tuesday is also a suspect in two other robberies on Sunday, including a liquor store in Michigan City, according to authorities.

On Thursday, the La Porte County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of 44-year-old Terry A. West Jr. in connection with the robbery of the Horizon Bank in Wanatah.

About 10:52 a.m., the bank branch at 113 W. First St. in Wanatah was robbed, according to sheriff's Capt. Derek Allen.

Several minutes later, the La Porte County E-911 Center received a dispatch that deputies from the Porter County Sheriff’s Office were pursuing a vehicle that matched the description of the getaway vehicle from the robbery, Allen said.

The vehicle pursuit continued north along Ind. 49 before turning west onto U.S. 12, he said. At 11:29 a.m., the pursuit ended along U.S. 12 in Porter County and one suspect was taken into custody, he said.

A second subject, who had been in the vehicle prior to the vehicle pursuit beginning, was later taken into custody in the area of Ind. 49 and the Indiana Toll Road.

Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division investigated the case, including formal interviews with West and the second subject, who had been detained, Allen said. The second subject was later released without charges.

Det. Jacob Koch presented the details of the investigation to La Porte County Deputy Prosecutor Julianne Havens, and probable cause was found in La Porte County Circuit Court to charge West with felony robbery, Allen said.

In addition, through the course of the investigation, West was "found to be linked to two more recent robberies," Allen said.

On Nov. 10, Lighthouse Liquors in the 500 block of Washington Street in Michigan City was robbed during the early afternoon. Later that same day, the Smoke Shop in the 2000 East block of U.S. 20 in Trail Creek was robbed.

According to a Michigan City Police report, a suspect armed with a gun, entered the store just before 1 p.m. and robbed it.

The investigation is being handled by the MCPD, while the Smoke Shop robbery is being investigated by the Trail Creek Police Department.

No employees or customers of the bank suffered any injuries during the robbery, Allen said. The MCPD report said the clerk at the liquor store, a 35-year-old man who was alone in the store, was also not injured.

West is being held in the La Porte County Jail on a $15,000 cash-only bond for the Wanatah robbery, according to court records. He is scheduled to appear in Circuit Court on Friday.

He is also being held on a $25,000 warrant issued through Superior Court 1 charging a second felony robbery for the Sunday incidents. His initial court appearance in that case is scheduled for Tuesday.

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