Illinois Couple Charged with Portage Robbery

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According to the Post Tribune, a man and woman from Harvey, Ill., were arrested after breaking into a Portage gas station in order to steal cigarettes, lighters, and 5 Hour Energy supplements.  Their crimes got more serious, however, when they allegedly rammed a squad car with a stolen van and led police in an on- and off-road car chase to Lake Station.

Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, a clerk at the Marathon gas station in Portage, across from the gas station the couple robbed, called police when he saw a person climb over an ice cooler and through a window into Luke Shell, a gas station on the opposite side of the highway.

As the couple left the gas station in a white contractor-style van and stopped for a light, a squad car driven by a Portage officer pulled up behind them.  The officer was pursuing the van when the driver, Jerry Allen, 49, of Harvey, put the van into reverse and rammed the squad car on to an interstate ramp.

The chase continued on the interstate, with more officers getting involved, until Allen took an exit and veered off the pavement at a high speed.  Police said the van bounced violently down the hill before hitting the bank of a ditch and going airborne.  This did not stop Allen though, and he headed southwest toward the embankment of an onramp of the same interstate.  After jumping that embankment as well, the van broke down and came to a stop in a grassy area.

The squad car that Allen had rammed earlier followed the van off the road and got stuck in a ditch.  Other squad cars got closer by taking the interstate and having their officers chase the couple on foot.

Jerry Allen was arrested for Class C felony burglary, Class D felony auto theft and fleeing law enforcement with a vehicle, as well as misdemeanor criminal recklessness.

Melissa Bourland, 27, also of Harvey, was taken to Portage Hospital for facial injuries and back pain from the crash.  She had been thrown into the passenger-side window of the van.  After being treated, she was taken to the Porter County Jail for Class C felony burglary and misdemeanor fleeing law enforcement and criminal trespassing, plus on two unrelated warrants through East Chicago.

The wrecked Ford van was reportedly stolen Dec. 10 in Chicago.  In it, police found the approximately $760 worth of goods stolen from Luke Shell: more than 60 packs of cigarettes and approximately 100 cigarette lighters and 40 bottles of 5 Hour Energy drinks.

In addition to the damaged vehicles and stolen goods, another $8,500 in damages was done to the gas station itself.  Surveillance video showed the van backing up into the front of the building, damaging a rock wall and shifting the front doors off their track.  This is what caused them to break the window above the ice cooler.  A cash register containing $100 was also damaged.

If you have found yourself in criminal trouble, make sure to contact a lawyer immediately.  The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney will be more than happy to help.

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