At 10:30 p.m. Friday, Butler University Police Department dispatch received a call from a student and Sigma Nu fraternity member, who reported seeing an individual near the front porch and a window of the fraternity house.
Butler Chief of Police Ben Hunter said that the individuals were then seen carrying a television into a Chrysler PT Cruiser.
When chased by the police, four suspects jumped out of their cars and headed off in different directions into the neighborhood. At this point, BUPD requested assistance from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, who were immediately on the scene.
“BUPD officers caught two suspects,” Hunter said. “When [IMPD] showed up, they established a perimeter and called for a K-9 and were able to catch the third suspect.”
Hunter said the fourth suspect was able to escape the perimeter and is still at large. However, the officers were able to identify him thanks to the description provided by the original caller.
“He was not arrested, but we’re presenting the case to the prosecutor’s office and it will be up to them to issue a warrant. He was not caught, so we have to prove or present evidence that that individual was there,” Hunter said.
After the case was presented on Tuesday, the deputy prosecutor signed off on the warrant for the fourth suspect, which he will present to a judge for signature.
The three detained suspects were placed on a 72-hour hold that night while BUPD detective Tony Rivera worked with prosecutor to put the case together.
Sophomore political science and international studies major Scott Nemeth was home for Easter when he received a call informing him his room had been broken into.
“They ended up kicking in the window and breaking all of the glass, as well as the screen,” Nemeth said. “It was completely torn apart, the desk chairs were knocked over, and they went through all of our drawers and closet.
One of the witnesses at the scene was junior political science and international studies major Matthew Kasper.
“What was strange about the event was that our chapter house had people in it, and it was fairy early considering it was a Friday night,” Kasper said.
Hunter said the event was uncommon, given that most burglaries statistically don’t happen in the evening or nighttime.
“Our staff was out there patrolling, so it’s disheartening to me that these individuals did something so bold,” he said.
Hunter said with the exception of a few outstanding items, most of the stolen items have been recovered.
Nemeth said that he was able to claim his television upon returning to campus on Sunday.
“The Xbox was never recovered, and my roommate got his laptop back but we are still missing his backpack as well as some other small things,” he said.
Kasper said he was grateful that no one was injured, and that much credit is due to the response by BUPD and IMPD.
“Our house dad Sgt. Banner was on the scene Friday night, so that was beneficial. It was also great to see [Hunter] on the scene and I heard even [Levester] Johnson visited the chapter house,” Kasper said.
Hunter said that a major part of the quick response was the fact that BUPD continued to receive updated information and descriptions from students. The first call was around 10:30 p.m. and the last suspect was apprehended at 11:00 p.m.
“There are a lot of things that worked well on this case. We had 12 witness statements that were all consistent, and that is key for putting the case together,” Hunter said.
Hunter recommends always contacting BUPD directly to ensure an instant response.
“What was very important and assisted us in this case is that the student called BUPD dispatch right away. There wasn’t a delay,” he said.
The case is still being put together and outstanding issues are being resolved, after which it will be presented and moved through the criminal justice system.
“It’s a fluid case with a lot of moving parts,” said Hunter.
The latest update came on Tuesday, after the complete case was presented. According to Hunter, a deputy prosecutor for Marion County filed two counts of burglary, two counts of possession of stolen property/receiving on each suspect. Additionally, one count each of resisting law enforcement was filed on all four suspects.